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Better Groceries for Less Cash
101 Tested & Proven Ways to Save on Food
By Randall Putala © 2008
Copyright © 2008 by Randall Putala All rights reserved For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions c/o SDMI, 5010 Linbar Drive, Suite 130, Nashville, TN 37211. www.grocerysavings.us Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Putala, Randall Better Groceries for Less Cash / Randall Putala ISBN 978-0-9777106-0-7. Printed in the United States of America Book design by John Hreha
Contents Foreword Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Chapter 2: The “7 Deadly Sins” Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons Chapter 6: Strategy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way To Organize Coupons Chapter 8: The Currency vs. Real Cooking Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. Coupon Litmus Test Chapter 9: Clubs. Healthier Meals Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Closing Notes Glossary Savings Examples 4 7 9 13 19 23 33 49 59 61 71 77 81 83 89 93 97 103 123 129 135 139 143 144 146 . Cards & Counterintelligence Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Chapter 14: Real Food.
it’s not really as absurd as you might think. Are groceries the new “high ticket items” of our current economy? Just look at your 4 . All this. I won't accept them. concocting elaborate schemes to 'work the sales person down'. for a purchase made once every five or six years that immediately loses about 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot. he replies. That’s because most people view food shopping as an entirely different process than shopping for other items – especially high-ticket items. I'm assuming that you'll want the 10 year warranty. it’s not that far removed from the everyday reality that most people experience in their grocery store. I'm buying from you"." The salesman recovers his wits and is delighted by his good fortune. He says to the salesman. probably never stop to scrutinize the details of their grocery receipts. "my last customer took out a 5 year extended warranty. But I do want your sworn assurance that nobody – absolutely nobody – will pay more than me for the identical vehicle. of course you're correct. No freebies or add-ons. But as you’ll see in the pages of this book. They'll print out comparison reports from the internet. I don't care that the dealership down the street offers a lower price. but the man goes on: "And don't even try to give me a better deal. they'll even threaten to walk out of the dealership if they don't get the concessions they want. call every dealership in a 50 mile radius – heck. The salesman looks stunned. Yet these very same consumers who spend countless hours scheming and negotiating to get the best deal on their new car. Without blinking an eyelash now. And based on the way most people view food shopping. Most people pride themselves on getting the absolute best deal on a new car.Foreword A man walks into a car dealership. "I want to buy your finest vehicle and I'll pay the full sticker price. correct?" If you're thinking this scenario is a little farfetched. whether it is competitive or not.
enjoy. I'm being facetious. And at the end of the day. or "Why Pay Less When We Can Charge You More?" Of course. and just maybe you would enjoy saving $100 or $200 per month. and I really can show you how to do it. and happy savings! 5 . But the same people who will drive 5 miles out of their way to save a nickel on gasoline. Sure. If so. it's pretty much a one-time investment. that you’re NOT that guy. if your money grows on trees or you discover the secret of alchemy. Read. like clockwork.receipts.000 or more per year. will shudder at the thought of clipping grocery coupons. take a deep breath and relax: this book is for you. Welcome to the bizarre world of economics 101. you probably don't need to clip coupons. They can ridicule the coupon-clippers and laugh that they tip more than that to the valet parkers at their country club. and you’ll get the answer immediately. "You'll Pay More – And LIKE It". Is this you? Do you light your cigars with $100 bills? Do you consider yourself the equal of the guy in the ‘Monopoly” game with the monacle and the bow tie? If so. a new car can last you many years with a bit of regular maintenance.40% – even 50% off your grocery bill. It’s no big deal for someone like that to dismiss the $40. You see. Does this make any sense to anybody??? Imagine the headlines if we had 'truth in advertising' and the grocery stores were forced to follow it: "Nobody Soaks You Better". yet most people are PROUD to pay full price for everything from produce to pizza pies to polka-dot party plates. perhaps. They represent 15% to 20% of most household budgets. But groceries are bought every single week of every single year. "I'm not poor!" they insist. as if they couldn't use an extra $1. put this book down immediately and go count your Krugerrands! I’m guessing.000 in savings they could enjoy over the course of their life. week in and week out. Just maybe you don't carry a money clip with a wad of $100 bills.000 or $50. I really will show you how to enjoy savings of 30% .
6 . I've listed my "101 Big Ideas" at the end of each chapter to summarize the key points.S.Randall Putala Author P. If you find yourself drifting back into old habits. just breeze through the “101 Big Ideas” to remember how to get back on track. refer to these time and again for a quick 'refresher course' to help you save money throughout your lifetime.
I can find some other area of my life to cut costs – maybe. Time is not as important to me as saving money. I'M IN A HURRY. but it's just not possible with my schedule. I've reviewed my store's sales flyer in advance and selected the special deals and coupons I'm going to use. I'M CHOOSY. 2. I'm going to select the finest core ingredients and plan my meals as I go based on the best deals I find in my store today. I'm too busy. Let me grab the highest-quality items on the shelf (based on brand name. 3. I've planned out my shopping trip to cut my in-store time to a minimum. OUT OF MY WAY. highest price. I'M LOST. I'M IN A HURRY. and pick the cheapest one. I'll be out of here in no time. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. I'll easily pay only a FRACTION of what most others pay and my family will probably be 7 . let's determine what type of grocery shopper you are at present. 4. but at least I'm bringing home something edible. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. or position on the shelf ). 5. I'M IN A HURRY. I've got a family to feed. AND I'M FRUGAL. Let me compare the prices of each item on the shelf. AND I'M CHOOSY. I'd like to save money. I want the best for my family and I'll buy it even if I can't afford it.Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Before we discuss ways to save money at the grocery store. LET ME COMPARE. just give me the makings of a quick meal and I'm out of here. I may end up with all the wrong stuff and I'm not sure if I'm getting a good deal. Let me grab the most expensive fruits and vegetables and the most expensive precooked items at the deli counter. Which of the following grocery shoppers best describes you? 1. I'll buy whatever is in front of me or whatever catches my eye today. advertising campaign. I'll save 30% or more on my groceries.
Now. because this means you've acknowledged the problem and are willing to take action to change it. It's a very good sign that you're willing to attend today's meeting. But you CAN CONTROL your mindset about the items you will need to prepare your meals and hence you CAN CONTROL the items you put into your cart. Here. Change your mindset. If that paragraph didn’t resound like a fire alarm in your brain.eating better and healthier food than theirs. Change your mindset. It's that simple. and you will lower your food costs. So do it. You CANNOT CONTROL the prices that the grocery store charges you. our therapy starts with the MINDSET you carry with you into the store. The MINDSET you bring into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. It’s very important. please read it again. It's that simple. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 1 BIG IDEA 1: The MINDSET you bring with you into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. a first-names-only group for people who habitually pay too much for their groceries. 8 . Wouldn't you like to be in that final group? Welcome to the first meeting of "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". and you'll lower your food costs.
4. If this is the case. Does your family ever politely suggest that your menu choices somehow fail to live up to their expectations? (Or perhaps they throw their full plates into the sink and yell "this food #*!)@"</&#s!"). you're probably suffering from an insufficient food supply. they're a good indication that you are purchasing the wrong items – or 9 . This is also known as spending too much on not enough.Chapter 2: The "7 Deadly Sins" (Signs that you may be losing the "grocery game") 1. Unhappy campers. Everyone is different. "there's nothing to eat". freezer. or pantry months after the fact. 3. If you often find one of your kids standing in front of the refrigerator shouting. b. Keep your receipts for one month. Add up the total of all your grocery purchases. If any of these symptoms apply to the food situation in your home. A strategy like this does not make for happy campers and is rarely sustainable. Conversely. c. You have items that you never seem to run out of. Are you experiencing these symptoms? a. Uneaten goods. High grocery expenses. A budgeting problem is hardly ever managed by reducing the AMOUNT of food you bring home. Insufficient food supply. If the food that you thought you needed is still in your fridge. You never seem to get around to cooking the items you purchase. and they sometimes go bad before you realize it. or is it OUT OF CONTROL? 2. d. you may not be making smart choices for your family. you have items that disappear as soon as you bring them home. and everyone likes different things from time to time. you probably have a troupe of unhappy campers and it's your job as the conscientious and devoted parent you are to address this problem. What percent of your family's take-home monthly income is going towards food? Is it reasonable. You get significant complaints whenever you serve the items you purchase.
The TV commercials you watch and the magazine ads you read are designed by food manufacturers to steer you away from cooking fresh foods and steer you toward buying their the high-priced pre-mixed concoctions. Have you ever come home from the grocery store and really looked at your receipt? I mean more than just glancing at it – I mean reading it line for line. Sometimes the items that looked so good at the store cause palpitations when you see what you actually paid for them.the wrong quantities of items – for your family's needs. Your family just isn't "into" to the food you're cooking. (More on this subject later in the book. Do you routinely throw a significant amount of food in the trash or down the drain? This means one of two things: a. Steer yourself back to the basics. "how could you pay $X for THAT?" You probably don't want to admit that you didn't check the price in the first place. or you're making too many different dishes during a given time frame. so you did. You're cooking too much food. so you put it in your cart. keep reading. 6. There is a HUGE disconnect between this premise and the reality of the situation. 5. Binge snacking. and your budget will 10 . Your significant other might even weigh in with their opinion. Your cooking proportions are too large. But something made you want to take that action. 7. but few people notice it. You're cooking the wrong stuff. Sticker shock. item by item. Are frequent snacks replacing meal times in your household? Do your kids skip the meals you cook only to wolf down an entire bag of chips at midnight? Eating the wrong kinds of food – at the wrong times – in the wrong quantities – can very quickly translate into serious health problems. You can adequately feed a family of 5 for a few dollars if you select the right foods and recipes.) The primary job of grocery store marketers is to make you believe that you NEED their product to adequately feed and appease your family. It's important to correct this type of eating disorder early-on – and this book can help you. b. Excessive leftovers. You may not even know WHY you put it in your cart. It just looked good at the time.
you either have to sacrifice some of the things you currently enjoy. the print ads in your magazines. or find a way to buy more for less.thank you for it. If you can learn a few simple techniques to stretch your food budget and allow them to eat BETTER. you'll all be happier and healthier. BIG IDEA 4: If your garbage disposal consumes more food than your family. Is your income rising to keep pace? If not. pre-cooked. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 2 BIG IDEA 2: Grocery prices are rising faster than just about any other commodity in your life. and even the signs in the grocery store. 11 . BIG IDEA 3: Your family is not going to be willing to eat LESS. are all geared toward getting you to FORGET about cooking fresh and rely on pre-mixed. Re-program your brain to ignore these messages and rely on your own common sense to buy core ingredients instead. but remember that in today's economy you're going to have to work harder JUST TO STAY EVEN. prebagged. The second choice may seem a little painful at first. it doesn't matter what you're buying or what you're cooking: something is significantly wrong in your relationship with food. BIG IDEA 5: The TV commercials you watch. expensive meals.
Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 classic shopper types, and how grocery store owners attempt to extract the most possible cash out of each of your wallets – i.e. how each of your may be losing “the grocery game.” 1. "OUT OF MY WAY, I'M IN A HURRY". You just got off work. Latchkey kid #1 is at his friend's house waiting for you to get home. Sports jock kid #2 is due back from baseball practice in 45 minutes. Workaholic hubby gets home in about an hour. All three are expecting a good dinner, meticulously prepared by tender, loving you. Your approach: "GET OUT OF MY WAY, GALS, OR I'LL MOW YOU DOWN!" You're zooming through the aisles snagging boxes and cans of anything that looks fast and edible that will pacify the hungry mob at home. Saving money on groceries is just about the furthest thing on your mind. Until you balance the checkbook later that week. Uh-oh. "How did we spend $900 on groceries last month? That's UN-BEE-LEEVABLE! What, do you not check the prices? Don't you ever buy things on sale?" Here are some tips exclusively for this shopper type: a. BLOCK IT. Create a 'block' of recipes and ingredients that you can fall back on. I recommend buying a small pocket-sized spiral book. Write down the simple recipes for meals you know your family will eat. List the ingredients you'll need. Divide this notebook into 6 sections and highlight the bottom with a marker to create visual tabs for quick reference: i. Main Courses. List the simple things your family will eat like Sloppy Joes, Hamburgers, Casserole, Chicken Fingers, etc. ii. Side Dishes. List things like Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Au Gratin Potatoes, etc. iii. Snacks. List simple recipes you can make to pacify the hungry mob at odd hours of the day, things like Caramel Corn, Potato Skins, Nachos, Sandwiches, Fruit Salads, etc.
b. REPLACE IT. Use these blocks of recipes to purchase core ingredients at the store, INSTEAD of the bags of pre-mixed / precooked items you've been buying. As you build your list of substitute recipes, you'll slowly wean yourself away from buying the higherpriced items. Add to your list of recipes by browsing the web. Buy some cheap cookbooks at yard sales, or check some out from the library. Keep adding to your list of recipes. If the family hates it, tear the sheet out of your notebook. If they love it, put a star by it. The more you document your cooking successes and failures, the more you'll save. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether from a recipe, a book, or simple experimentation – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family with better recipes, and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time', but you can rely on your own notes. 2. I'M CHOOSY. LET ME COMPARE. If you're a slow and steady shopper but you just can't seem to save money, this description fits you to a T. You compare prices closely: The name-brand item is 99¢, and the off-brand is 89¢. So you buy the off-brand, thinking you're saving money. Not necessarily! If you had clipped a coupon from the Sunday paper for 25¢ off the name-brand item, your grocer would have doubled it, saving you 50¢ on the name-brand item. Final cost = 49¢ for the name-brand item vs. 89¢ for the off-brand item. You would have just reduced your cost of that item by almost 45%! Suggestions for this category of shopper: a. CLIP IT. Clip coupons for every conceivable item you might buy at the store. You're already good at comparing prices. Factor in the power of coupons; it can really impact your budget. b. COMPARE IT. If you're good at reviewing ingredients, compare the cost of buying the fresh ingredients vs. buying the premixed items. For example, if you like the convenience of frozen bagged dinners, consider buying larger portions of each key ingredient, and then chopping down and bagging your OWN version of the premixed dinners. You can prepare 5 or 10 meals in a single afternoon, and lower your cost of each meal by 50% or more!
3. I'M IN A HURRY, AND I'M CHOOSY. This type of shopper is both finicky and non-frugal. You're the grocery manager's dream customer. They place the most expensive and appealing items at the end caps of the aisles and in the aisle bins, knowing you'll like the look of these particular selections and won't consider the alternatives or the lower-priced items. You are perhaps the hardest nut to crack in the grocery savings game. The best advice I can give you is as follows: a. PORTION CONTROL. Continue to buy the premium ready-made foods your family loves; just buy less of it Make allnatural side dishes to add depth to your meal, while reducing costs. b. MEAL FILLERS. Add items to your menu that are fast, easy, and economical to cook. Put these on the plate along with smaller portions of the premium foods. This way your family fills up on healthy foods – just not the most expensive healthy foods. For example, let's say you typically bring home about $50 worth of Sushi to make a quick dinner for your crew. Try buying $15 worth of Sushi, but add side dishes such as rice with gravy, rice cakes topped with cream cheese and a small dollop of caviar (see, you can upgrade and still save money!) Or how about some celery pieces filled with tuna fish salad on the side? If you're creative, you can fill out the plate with lower-cost items that complement your original menu choices just fine. c. CHANGE THE SOURCE OF THE SAME FOOD YOU SERVE. For example, if you buy take-out Chinese once a week and spend $50 on one meal, consider buying $10 worth of Chinese food and adding some side dishes that you cook at home. One food manufacturer, everyone's favorite uncle, makes a fast-cooking preseasoned rice mix in foil pouches. There are always 2-for-1 deals at the store, and frequently there are coupons for this item in the Sunday paper. It means that you can get real deals on this product. It's fast to cook, and it's delicious. Plus, you'll end up paying 25¢ or so per portion vs. $2.00 per portion for rice from the Chinese take-out place. You don't have to give up the f ine foods you know and love. To save money, simply buy less of the premium meal items and prepare valuebased side dishes to supplement the main food selections. If you plan
closely followed by completion of your assigned task. b. great. I'M LOST. really. You now have detailed notes that you can read anytime you plan to make a baked potato. until you get it absolutely right. try cooking 2 potatoes at once. Take really. Chances are you feel pretty hopeless when it's time to grocery shop. Keep it simple. If you actually enjoy wandering around the grocery store like a lost helium balloon. Cook for 5 minutes on high. Wet the potato with running water iii. Sprinkle it with sea salt iv. If this works. MASTER SOME SIMPLE FOOD ITEMS. The best bets to get you on a more logical course in your grocery store visits are: a. and write down notes for this. Work on learning to cook individual items really well. you may a problem. if you're trying to bake a potato in your microwave. Be specific and write down the things you did that worked. like "3 meat items". Rest assured. and keep a small spiral binder to note down what you've learned.these side dishes carefully. etc. Poke holes in potato with fork ii. Make a simple list by category. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. etc. START SMALL. you're building your own cookbook of things that you know you can cook. You're really more of an open slate and one of the easiest to set on the right course. Try to get to the point that you're reaching your goal of the number of items in each category. as well as the things you did that DIDN'T work. write down the steps: i. Containment is the key word here. REALLY. If you can find coupons in the Sunday paper for some of the things you like. "5 breakfast items". Isn't that a great feeling? 16 . clip them out and put them in an envelope. 4. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance your main items as well. 8 minutes. that will turn out perfectly. and stop there. For example. Next. though. you should be pretty open to new suggestions. small steps to organize your shopping trips. As you master each new step. all is not lost. If you need more time. If you are this type of shopper. change it to 7 minutes. writing down how many items you'll need that week from each category.
AND I'M CHEAP. or simple trial & error – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family 17 . down. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how professional chefs do things.000 – $3. Imagine being able to wheel your cart out of the supermarket. Since these are 'after tax' savings – it is like getting a $5. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. while kind of ticked off at how long the cashier took to scan all of your coupons. and then doing those same things next time you cook. The guy in line behind you. you CAN do better if you just review your options. down. You can experience this every week – year-in and year-out – so you are literally saving $2. The reason it looks so effortless on TV is because cooking is really very simple. 5. and stay cheap. you're ready for the master class.Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and it will help you determine what works for you.500 or more per year on groceries. It will make you think about each of your selections and how they will affect your total. If you mentally prepare yourself to reach this level. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. and you won't always have a coupon for them or an alternative lower-cost option. book. The checkout clerk and bag boy were amazed at how little you paid for so much food.500 – $3. was fascinated watching the 'amount due' total going down. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 3 BIG IDEA 6: The more you document. The tips and techniques outlined in this book will be like manna in the desert: you're ready to shop. You'll waste a lot of food and put up with unhappy diners every now and again – but use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark'. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. down. It just takes practice to know what works. Some items will be necessities. I'M IN A HURRY.27 – he's kind of wondering what you did. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether by recipe. the more you'll save.000 raise at work. Get cheap. chock full of the finest foods in the store. When your 'total savings' amount is $50. $70 or more – and his 'total savings' amount is $2. $60.
BIG IDEA 10: Get cheap. and stay cheap. Some items will be necessities. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how they do things. To save money. simply buy less of them and prepare value-based side dishes to supplement your main food selections. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance the enjoyment of your main items. BIG IDEA 7: Want the convenience of 'single bag / single pan' cooking? Mix your own freezer bags full of core ingredients in advance. and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. but you can rely on your own notes.with better recipes. If you plan these side dishes carefully. and you can prepare an entire month's worth of meals in a single afternoon. 18 . or an alternative lower-cost selection to make. BIG IDEA 9: Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and help you determine what works for you. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time'. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. But you'll waste a lot of food and have unhappy and unfed diners who won't appreciate your efforts. BIG IDEA 8: You don't have to give up on the fine foods your family craves. and document it so you can continue to build on your simple successes in the kitchen. is because cooking is really very simple. Use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark' of cooking success before you get started. The reason it looks so effortless to them. and you won't always have a coupon for it. It will make you think about each one of your selections and how they will affect your total. you CAN do better if you just review your options. Learn what works for you.
Your second step on the road to recovery involves believe that you actually can pay less for your groceries..) Step 1 – Acknowledge. Step 6 – Reconsider. What is REALLY going on here…? How do you really feel about food? Examine your motives for buying the types of food you buy.. here is a list of the 12 steps on the road to recovery (with my apologies to every real 12step program out there. write down the individual items that you think are causing the problem. If you don't think you have a problem (or won't admit it) you won't get anywhere. Once you've uncovered the current negatives 19 . Step 4 – Reflect. If you do what you've always done. your mental attitude. you've got to be prepared to try new things. you're probably going to be aware that some of the items that regularly appear in your shopping cart are perhaps not the best choices. Take a close look at your mental relationship with food and your family's groceries. and what they are doing to your health. Step 2 – Believe. Seriously. seek professional counseling. Make yourself accept it. visualize yourself paying $100. It can be a big help. You don't have to eat foods you don't like but you've at least got to try out new things once in a while. If you still don’t understand the connection. Once you can visualize the change you want. Write down how they make you feel.Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” If you are a candidate "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". If you're currently paying $200 per week. You must first of all admit that you need help cutting your grocery costs. If you don’t understand why you do the things you do. and your weight. Step 5 – Affirm. and what experiences in the past are causing you to make these purchases over and over again. Once you've taken a closer look at your groceries. Stand by this realization. you tend to get what you've always gotten. Change is all about visualization at this early stage. Step 3 – Be Flexible.
or items that could be replaced with lower-cost selections. Start experimenting with new ingredients and recipes. Find new ways of doing things that work for you and your family.” Find a substitute. and if you like it – keep buying it. Consider using lower-priced or healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes. When you reach for that high-priced non-essential food item. your refrigerator and your freezer. You may be thinking. Too much change will cause rejection and abandonment of the whole project. Write down every item that you probably shouldn't have purchased. Acknowledge that you cannot remake yourself or your dietary selections overnight. and enter a new instruction. turn around. Humilty is the stepstone of success. “I can make a better choice that will become my NEW favorite. “STOP!” Reset your mind. your mind may think of it as a reward. Take a notepad and physically stand in front of your pantry. it's time to look at the positive solutions before you. and 'do the aisle again. “I’ve always eaten this. Step 7 – Be Humble. Even the best chefs learn something new every day. Now comes the fun part. Step 10 – Reject. buy it. tofu instead of cheese.regarding your shopping habits. Examples: plain yogurt instead of sour cream. There's a lot for you to learn about food. items that cost too much. These are the "bad guys" that are eating a hole in your budget… Step 9 – Substitute. 20 . Take it slow. for the NEW me. I’ve always been able to afford it. Step 8 – Record. review the items that you picked up in that aisle. Be open to the idea of putting new items in your shopping cart. I’m entitled to this and no one can stop me from buying it. cholesterol-lowering spread instead of butter. you must mentally shout out. When you have finished going down an aisle in the grocery store. Were they of the best value? Did you check to see if you had coupons for the items you selected? Did you consider other brands that might have been priced lower and been just as good? If not.' Step 11 – Baby Steps.” When your conscious mind says this to your subconscious. put the guilty items back on the shelf.
If you saved $20 – put a $20 bill in your piggy back for a rainy day or a splurge event later in the year. and put it in a bank savings account immediately. If you're very diligent.Step 12 – Rejoice. Reward yourself for taking specific steps to lower your food costs. You can open one at the in-store bank that most grocery stores have these days. 21 . get 'cash back' equal to that amount.
even $100 or more in savings on groceries? By not clipping and using store coupons.Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons The core of any grocery savings plan is store coupons. Would you turn it down. and – unfortunately for their budgets – most of them are wrong. REALITY: Only smart people use coupons. it doesn't matter. and it's your lucky day. Respect what you have been given and treat it properly. In fact. Oprah Winfrey uses coupons. save! Knowing the value of money is the first step to keeping and building even more money in the future. you're turning down the chance to save a ton of money. knowing how to value money is really what made them rich in the first place. MYTH 1: Only poor people use coupons. save. and more will be given to you over time. Imagine that you are at a social function where door prizes are being given away. When I go shopping. if I save $50 on my weekly groceries. Why then do people turn down $50 to $75. see if you can find your opinions among these common shibboleths. yes – but not poor. I know that I probably could have saved a lot more if I had shopped correctly! By the way. The richest people in the world don't go around flashing money. on the basis that you already earn a salary and don't really need the $50? Would you return it and ask that it be given to a poorer person – someone who could "really use it"? Of course not! It's found cash. Imagine your name is drawn from a hat and the prize is a brand-new $50 bill. They're the number one promotional device in the grocery industry and you're going to have to come to terms with them. Love them or hate them. People tend to have fixed opinions about grocery coupons. Let's examine the top 10 myths about store coupons. the richest people in the world tend to be incredibly frugal…believe it or not. 23 . You'd snatch up the $50 and celebrate winning a valuable prize. They are always looking for ways to save. I feel disappointed. She's not exactly poor… Smart.
And now his picture is on the $100 bill. just imagine for a moment what you and your family could do with an extra $2. "A penny saved is a penny earned". why not just go back to the office for another hour each week? Would that be easier? Folks.... not me. and not the billing rate you would command if you were in the office. let alone using coupons. When you arrive at this conclusion. Even if you’re making tons and tons of money during your work time. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket..000 or $3. Would you give less than an hour of your time each week to get it? Would you actually stoop to getting out a pair of scissors and clipping coupons to get it? If not. REALITY: If your spare time is worth more than $100 per hour. be sure you're talking about your SPARE time. You probably deserve a break. and you really do work every moment of every day. so take one. remember Jack: all work / no play… it doesn’t have a happy ending. If your spare time is exactly the same as your work time. I'm talking about totally fun money… money that you can use to do anything you want. and “oh so many” of today's ultra-successful Hummer-driving success stories make this conclusion. By this I mean the actual cash you would be generating in your spare time. here is a huge lesson that you can learn now or learn later: SAVING money is the same thing as EARNING money. you're very lucky. But if you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. consider opening your mind up to ways that can SAVE your money so you can do more with what you've got. a new hot tub.000 per year. you're probably better off hiring someone to do your grocery shopping. money to blow on a super vacation. using coupons is a waste of time. let alone shopping for yourself. Benjamin Franklin said it. a monster home entertainment system …whatever you consider TOTALLY FRIVOLOUS and TOTALLY DESIRABLE.! 24 .MYTH 2: If you can afford to pay full price.
you write a check for $75.” Okay. many of them are for new items that you may not want or need. Instead. tell me this: do you have any credit card debt? If you owe ANY creditor ANY amount of cash. no” you might say. one that will take an immense amount of financial change to dig your way out of. great. Picture it this way: saving on your groceries can be a valid way to help you pay off your debt faster. Some are also for 25 . It means that instead of writing a check for $150 for groceries. “Vinnie” the shylock won’t be driving by to break your knee caps. If you write smaller checks to your grocery store. you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. If you truly feel you do not need to save on groceries. You're still on a pay-as-you-go plan. Trust me. you will end up paying less in hard cash at the grocery checkout. That's real money.Here's another way to look at wealth and financial status. View it however you like. It's not rocket science. along with the other techniques described in this book. my credit card is with one of America’s premier banking institutions. you're written in that creditor's shylock book. even if you use coupons. “Vincent” from the bank will simply break your credit score until you cough up the “vig” – 21%+ interest on the balance due. Same criminals / same effect: the situation has just been prettied-up to make you feel better about it. You'll have more money set aside at the end of the month and that can go towards your debt. Yes. That is a fact. “I don’t deal with a shylock or a gangster. it's a nice feeling! MYTH 4: Grocery coupons are just a come-on to get you to buy overpriced items or "weird" items you really don't need. and it really does stay in your bank account. If you use coupons effectively. REALITY: Grocery coupons are issued for hundreds of everyday items – things you already buy for your family. REALITY: Effective couponers can literally cut their food cost in half without even trying. “Oh. MYTH 3: You end up paying about the same.
But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. don't need it. Smart money management never goes out of style. Use the coupons you need and don't use the ones you don't. REALITY: If you truly are independently wealthy. or don't like it.. However. when you're jetting across the Atlantic with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time. or you simply don't want the nicer things in life. if you don't regularly treat yourself and your family to items like these. the techniques described in this book provide a real opportunity for you to start doing so. you're right: maintain your affluent / happy / free-wheeling image. don't buy it! There are hundreds of other coupons available for items your family really does want.products that are overpriced. will you care what those nay-sayers think? I didn’t think so... If you can already afford these things every year without putting a dent in your budget. MYTH 5: People will think I'm destitute if I use coupons. Maybe not today but certainly later in life. Small debt that you start to rack up today will 26 . I don't know of a single person who would say "no" to getting a free new wardrobe every year. you probably don't need to use coupons. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. But guess what? If you don't want it. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. Then. Just remember this: all grocery products were new at some point in time.. or a free trip to Paris including hotel and airfare. But I don't know of a single family who would turn down a free weekend in the Bahamas or at Disney World. You'd be ignoring the other principles we discuss in this book about planning your shopping list before you head out the door and really thinking about what your family wants and needs. and don't use coupons. need and use every day. You shouldn't use coupons as an excuse to buy things you don't need. Would you turn these things down if they were offered to you? I didn’t think so. picture the people who make you feel destitute in the grocery store: are they on the plane with you? When you're headed to Paris to spend the money you've saved.
Saving dollars early in life will lead to a much more robust lifestyle in your future. enjoy the products. They want people to try their products. REALITY: Who spends the most at grocery stores? It's the affluent households who can afford the more 'frivolous' products: pre-mixed items. REALITY: Grocery manufacturers WANT you to use their coupons. In fact. Couponing is the #1 PROMOTIONAL TOOL available to the grocery industry. higher-priced items. Let the mockers laugh: you’re building for your future. If you're crying for the Fortune 500-listed grocery manufacturers. The grocery manufacturers want MARKET SHARE. not theirs. MYTH 6: It's unethical to use coupons if I can afford to pay full price. If they didn't want consumers to buy their products. super-premium items. using their coupon to buy their product. the more products they sell. Manufacturers issue coupons according to a well-structured plan to build market share in specific parts of the country. and increases sales for the farmers and food producers. Who is most likely to become a repeat buyer of higher-priced items? That's right: affluent households. Coupons help spur the economy. they wouldn't issue the coupons. and become repeat customers. The moral of this story: saving pennies leads to saving dollars. so this increases jobs for the people at the factory. an affluent shopper. and that can be very hard to overcome. etc. regardless of who redeems them. THIS IS WHY THEY PAY TO PRINT THE 27 . Eva Peron insisted that Argentina should not cry for her (despite being an enormously popular public figure and despite dying young… see the movie "Evita" for details). The food manufacturer would jump for joy if they saw you. They don't pay tens of thousands of dollars to distribute them in the hope that nobody will use them. the higher the coupon redemption rate. you really do have too much time or money on your hands… MYTH 7: Grocers do not want affluent shoppers to use coupons.compound into larger debt over time. They must replenish the sold product.
they want to overcome any price resistance and the natural tendency to avoid trying something unfamiliar. MYTH 8: It doesn't make sense to buy products that I don't normally buy.) Couponing works for everyone – it works for the manufacturer who sells more products. etc. By printing coupons that offer you a large discount on the product. chances are high that you and/or your family will LOVE IT. and it works: my kids ask me to buy specific brand names of items that they enjoyed the first time I bought them (brands they wouldn't even know about if I hadn't made the initial purchase using a store coupon. So the hope is that you will become a loyal purchaser and you will pay full-price for the item – this time. They develop new lines of products. So guess what: once you try the product. they're actually very smart. This is the manufacturer's goal. new combinations. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid.. They are DESPERATE to have you buy a box of their latest creation and let your family try it. No company would incur the massive expense of testing. They're attempting to BUY your loyalty… 28 . you won't have a coupon – but you WILL have the request from your family to ‘get more’ of the product. and on and on for years. new flavors. And when you go to buy the product again. and it works for your family: you get cheap or FREE stuff initially. packaging. let's look at this situation from the food manufacturer's perspective. and distributing a product if they didn't believe the buying public would like it. the next time. and you get to try the best new and improved products that the industry has to offer. because they believe that consumers will like them. They want you in their store and they want you to fill your cart with the best items in their store They're not worried about processing a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. REALITY: Again. it works for the store manager who makes his or her money whether you use the coupon or not.COUPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition.
If you are independently wealthy. Just about everyone could benefit from saving money. etc. nickels. home furnishings. electronics.000 or more per year in your spare time – without working – and it's something that 29 . Imagine what your loan balances would look like if you paid down $5.000 per year. Save your pennies. Do you honestly have more money than you need? If so. Or. couponing is not for you. cars. (Yogi Berra should have said that…) MYTH 10: Couponing is hard to do. Do you owe ANY money on ANY loan. $2. REALITY: If you do it right. Examples: 1. and a real waste of time.MYTH 9: I make a good living. including your home mortgage? Couponing could save you $5. give some to charity. 3.000 per year. Case closed. and save some for your own use. Do you currently owe a balance on a credit cards? If you answered YES. Why would someone like ME need to use grocery coupons? REALITY: Few people are doing as well as they could be. and couponing is a step in the right direction. couponing will only add one or two hours to your shopping time per week and it can easily save you $50 per week on groceries Plus. You’ll feel better about it. if you have some other method to earn $1. it can be fun.000.? If not. If you honestly couldn't pay cash on the barrel today. you've just lost your vote. you're right: you don't need to save money. At least not the same tomorrow as today. If you don't mind paying hundreds of dollars in interest each year. why don't you run out today and pay cash for everything you've ever want? If you could. 2. you need to save more money. Do you have the very latest clothing. you're right – you don't need to use coupons but you also need to have your head examined (!). 4. or simply don't care about money. dimes and dollars now! Because if you spend like there's no tomorrow – there might not BE a tomorrow.
But the ends justify the means. you're very lucky. If your spare time truly is worth more than $50 per hour.. Save money on groceries. Maybe not today – but later in the month or later in the year – and certainly later in life. and use the money to pay off your debt quicker. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. BIG IDEA 13: If you have credit card balances or any amount of consumer debt. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time? BIG IDEA 16: Smart money management never goes out of style.you enjoy . If you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. Conversely. and you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. BIG IDEA 12: Saving money is the same thing as EARNING money. you need to GET OUT OF DEBT as quickly as you can. BIG IDEA 14: Write smaller checks to your grocery store. BIG IDEA 15: All grocery products were new at some point in time. this is simple math – but sometimes the obvious doesn’t hit home until you think about it. small debt that you start to rack up today will compound into 30 . Yes. you should pursue it.. because that is what made them rich. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. it's the chance to make $40 an hour without lifting a finger…or even a pair of scissors… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 5 BIG IDEA 11: The richest people in the world still do many things the way they did early in their life. open your mind to ways that you can SAVE money and do more with what you've got. And for you. couponing takes a little effort. it's less work for them than clipping your lawn. Yes. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket.
They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. 31 . you'll feel better.. And for you. it's like making $40 an hour without lifting a finger. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. they're issuing them to gain market share and win your loyalty.larger debt over time. You might even say – perish the thought – that they're attempting to BUY your loyalty… BIG IDEA 20: Later in life. and they want you to fill your cart as high as it will go. BIG IDEA 17: Don’t worry about taking money out of the pockets of the major food manufacturing companies. They don’t worry about overcharging you. and they’re already rich! BIG IDEA 18: Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. with the best items in their store. BIG IDEA 19: The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. it's less work for him or her than clipping your lawn. They're not worried about accepting a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. BIG IDEA 21: If your time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. Save money NOW while you’ve still got it – and you’ll have a lot more money later in life when you’ll need it more. and that can be very hard to overcome. If you really don't need to save money. they're actually very.. Or a pair of scissors… BIG IDEA 22: Be charitable to yourself by using coupons and selecting brands that are on sale. in fact. give it to a real charity. and so will they. They want you in their store. very smart. you probably won’t make the same income that you make today.
33 . They are in excellent physical condition and are well-versed on their team's playbook long before the first ball is hiked. Think of the actual process of grocery shopping as being like a football game. DOUBLING LIMITS: Find out the maximum coupon value for doubling.g. BASIC COUPONING STRATEGY Here are the 10 "sacred rules" of couponing. The battle to save money at the grocery store begins long before you set foot in the store. leave immediately and find a store that does. i. Let's look at the STRATEGY behind couponing.e. TACTICS. there are two parts to any battle plan: a. Learn them. 2. up to 99¢. Players train and exercise for months before they play the first game of the season. 20 coupon maximum per visit). up to 60¢.Chapter 6: Strategy and Tactics: How To Win the War for Your Wallet As any military strategist will tell you. you WILL save money. Also find out if the store limits the number of coupons you can redeem in one visit. Live them. Generals always plan before they implement an attack on the battlefield. STRATEGY. This is the creation of a PLAN. The secret to tackling any major goal is to PLAN YOUR WORK. If not. The "grocery game" is a lot like a football game: If you PLAN to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you hit the aisles of your grocery store. This is the actual implementation of the plan. DOUBLING: Find out if the grocery store offers DOUBLE COUPON redemption. regulations and insider tips you'll need to know before you hit the grocery store. and the many rules. then WORK YOUR PLAN. NEVER try to use an expired coupon. 3. up to 50¢. (e. EXPIRATION: Check expiration dates religiously before you shop. b. etc. 1.
or even FREE in some cases! Let’s review each of these 10 strategy items in detail.4. or must you buy 2?) 5. CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS: Is the coupon redeemable for all sizes. BOGO POLICY: Find out the store's policy on BOGO (Buy One / Get One Free) specials. or is there a specific choice requirement defined on the coupon? 9. Take a minute to scan through ALL of your coupons before 34 . (can you buy only 1. The scanners in most grocery stores identify each coupon by linking the barcode on your coupon to a database of valid coupons in circulation. 7. They have real value. flavors and variations of the product. Many check out clerks check the expiration date before they scan the coupon. EXPIRATION Food companies issue coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products.) 6. buy milk & cookies to get X¢ off on the cookies? 10. NEVER try to redeem a coupon for a brand other than the one shown on the coupon. Coupons are negotiable documents. especially to the grocer who accepts them. Almost every coupon you clip will have an expiration date. You will enjoy a double discount that gives you the item for a very low cost. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS: Is a matching purchase needed to redeem the coupon. even low-value coupons. Most coupons are brand specific.g. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS: Does the coupon require you to buy 2 or more of the item to get the discount? 8. e. If your coupon is expired. (HINT: The highest-value coupon may not provide the best overall value. Plus. CLIP EVERYTHING. BRAND REQUIREMENTS. the scanner will catch it instantly. if you knowingly attempt to redeem an expired coupon you are committing attempted fraud. Clip and keep ALL coupons for products you may want. Look for items that are on sale that you have a coupon for. HYPER VALUES.
they start to appear in stores. If they accept a coupon that is expired. the volume of coupons redeemed hits a peak. It looks something like this: The day the coupons are distributed. the food companies use coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. more and more consumers redeem the coupons.) The expiration date can actually work in your favor.. so the total number of coupons redeemed goes up. and your store manager may choose to call you out on it. At some point near the middle of the promotion. Do it once too often.. so there's another reason to be aware of coupons that are almost at their expiration date (but not beyond it. But just bear in mind that the store is simply the brokering agent for the coupon. (It’s unlikely that anyone has ever served jail time for attempting to redeem an expired grocery coupon. they have no chance of getting credit for it. the total number starts to decline and eventually trails off. So when they issue a coupon on January 1st with an expiration date of March 31st. 35 . they are anticipating a 'bell curve' in their response. Over the next few weeks.) As I stated above. So you are really attempting to steal from the store. From that point on.you go shopping so you can stay on the right side of the law… and your store manager.
avoid these coupons if you are not willing to settle for the face discount value. you would be concerned about declining sales at this point. Some manufacturers are printing the words "DO NOT DOUBLE" in the margins of the coupon. In areas of EXTREME competition where the grocery chains are fighting for market share. It's almost mandatory when there are multiple grocers in your area competing for your business. especially senior citizens and families with children. 36 . Some important rules to know about doubling: 1. Find out if your store doubles "DO NOT DOUBLE" coupons. and may do something to boost sales until the next coupons are distributed. Your store may or may not choose to double the coupon – and unless you know their policy for certain. This is when many products are put on special. you MUST shop there to get the most for your money – regardless of your store preference. and a limit of 20 coupons per visit – or no limit at all. you would see that very few coupons are redeemed in the last week of the promotion – between March 24th & March 31st. and they may set a limit of 10 coupons per visit. VERY FEW PEOPLE USE COUPONS and this can be to your advantage. When you see a store offering tripling of coupon values. The retailers know that only a small percentage of shoppers will actually take advantage of this offer – and those shoppers that do use coupons will often have just one or two that they found in their morning paper. DOUBLING Coupon doubling is a popular technique used by grocery stores to attract shoppers. See the 'BOGO' section later in this book to find out how this works. it's common to see doubling limits increased to 99¢ in value. or offered as a 'BOGO'.If you charted out the total number of coupons redeemed from January 1st through March 31st. If you were a product manager at the food company. you may find TRIPLING of coupons from time to time. In areas with high competition. In areas with only marginal competition. a grocer may limit doubling to coupons up to 30¢ or 35¢ in value.
b. The most common level you will find is 50¢. Check the prices for ALL brands for which you have coupons.55 $1. the net savings effect is multiplied. BEFORE you shop there. IF the store has the item on sale. you should get in the habit of determining their actual redemption value in the store you are shopping in. You may want to use a lower-value coupon. When you view the face value of your store coupons.00 $. which could net out a greater discount for you. You must know the doubling limit of the store you are shopping in. Doubling value of the coupon. but it will pay off big 37 . If you don't. although some stores go as low as 35¢ and some go as high as 99¢. It’s true. you will very likely be disappointed at the check out counter.59 (coupon not doubled) $1. But combined with the sale price. A lesser-value coupon that is doubled can be worth more than a larger coupon that is NOT doubled.59 $2. You can eventually achieve a lower net-cost per unit by selecting a brand for which you have a lower-value coupon. Here is an example: Brand Name Store Price Coupon Value Net Cost To You After Coupon Doubling Brand A Spaghetti Sauce Brand B Spaghetti Sauce $2.19 As you can see. Store sale. This will take a little practice. the coupon net value difference here seems negligible – only 10¢ net difference. The price savings on Brand B seems very small but can often make a huge net difference in your total grocery bill.29 on sale $1. Determine the net redemption value of your coupon before you get to the checkout counter.2. Again. DOUBLING LIMITS Every grocery store sets its own limits on the high value of coupon doubling. Two factors have contributed to your savings here: a. you will save 40¢ by choosing Brand B – EVEN THOUGH your coupon had about half the face value of the coupon for Brand A. More about this later.
This is why knowing the doubling limit of your grocery store is so important. 2. Alternatively. This example is for a store that has set a 55¢ maximum value on coupon doubling. 38 . They may have ordered too many of a given item and they simply do not have room to store them.time in terms of savings. Here are some examples on how you should train your mind to think of coupons of different valuations. EXPIRATION DATE. the lower the coupon value. The items must sell before the expiration date or be discarded at a 100% loss to the store when the expiration date is reached. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store. you get the second item for FREE when you buy one at the regular price. the highest value coupon does NOT always result in the greatest discount. Perhaps the items did not sell as quickly as the store manager had anticipated and the inventory is approaching its expiration date. Why do stores offer BOGOs? 1. It may be cheaper to clear the item out at half the price. BOGO POLICY Remember those old 'alien from outer space' movies where the jet pilot reported a "Bogie at 10:00?" You need to be on similar high alert in the grocery store: "BOGO in aisle 10!" What is a BOGO? It's a "Buy One / Get One" deal. the greater the net discount. Coupon Face Value Redemption Value After Doubling 25¢ 35¢ 55¢ 60¢ 75¢ 50¢ 70¢ $1.10 60¢ 75¢ As you can see. OVERSTOCK. the cost of storing the excess items may be excessive. Sometimes.
It is your right to know. someone can use the second item. and they'll be glad to get it. Here's an example to help you understand why: 39 . By advertising a number of BOGO deals. and the manager is hoping they enjoy the shopping experience and the values enough to switch stores permanently. or you cannot use two containers before the expiration date. Grocery stores will blast their BOGO deals in big type on the front page of their flyers. If you were going to buy the item anyway. This is not always the case. BOGO promotions are quick for a retailer to implement. However. You cannot be timid when it comes to knowing the store's policy on BOGOs. 4. Many times they are store-specific.3. If you honestly don't need two of an item. if the BOGO is for a non-perishable item that you could use in the future. The store may be in an intense market share fight with a competitor. Shoppers may visit one time to get the BOGO deals. they can often entice shoppers to change their store of preference. To build market share for a specific product in a specific store. it makes no sense to buy the extra (second) item.) A store may offer a quick two or three day BOGO promotion to clear out stockpiled inventory. LOSS LEADER. the manufacturer's representative may give the store free merchandise to give away under a BOGO deal. Many shoppers will assume that if an item is on BOGO special. (although they are often chain-wide promotions offered by the leading grocers. and in many stores it is NEVER the case. buy two and put the extra item in your pantry or freezer. They will NOT advertise their actual BOGO redemption policy. do not pass up the BOGO deal. they can buy just one and pay half the price. Be bold: walk up to the customer service counter and ask the manager whether you MUST buy 2 of the item. and it can make a big difference in your checkout total. Why? Because they have nothing to gain by doing so. You could also consider donating it to Second Harvest or your local food bank. or whether you can buy just one at half the price. MANUFACTURER PROMOTION. This is the ideal time to use your store coupon.
50 – more than 54% OFF RETAIL! SUPER SECRET: Some stores have altered their BOGO policy to meet the needs of senior citizens. Store doubles the coupon value to $1.50.75. many stores will allow you to buy one box at half price. Box. 21 oz. You have now saved $2. 21 oz. 50¢ off on one box purchase. CHECK WITH YOUR STORE BEFORE YOU BUY! If your store allows half off purchasing of one item in a BOGO deal. look how much you could save in this same example: PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: Gummy Gunk Cereal. OFF ONE” POLICY: NET COST TO YOU: $0. rather than buy one at full price and take a second box free. they consume so little that the second box would become stale before they use it. BOGO SALE PRICE AT STORE WITH “1/2 Buy one at $1.50.75 off normal retail on one box of cereal.00. Seniors who live alone often do not need two boxes of a product. You have now saved $2.75 for one box of cereal. To keep senior customers happy.PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: BOGO SALE PRICE: NET COST TO YOU: Gummy Gunk Cereal.25 each.50.25 per box of cereal. get one free. Buy one at $3.00. regular price $3. And 40 . a savings of over 73% OFF RETAIL! CLIP EVERYTHING Let's cut to the chase: there is no need to clip coupons for 'Super Sugar Shack' cereal if you're a senior and don't have grandkids. regular price $3. $2. $1. 50¢ off on one box purchase.50 for two boxes of cereal. Box. for a grand total savings of $4. Store doubles the coupon value to $1.
Where this gets tricky is when the coupon is for a 'family' of products. not Brand B or Brand C. it's the thrill of the hunt. and not clip it. Be doubly careful about checking 41 . OR. some cereal companies will issue coupons good for two or more boxes of any brand of cereal they make. No legitimate grocer would accept a coupon for a brand other than the one shown.29 50¢ $1. and you'll especially like them if you get them for FREE or close to free.69 $1. Plus. a feeling of euphoria and power. the Brand A marketing people spent big bucks to get that coupon into distribution. You might like the brands you haven't tried. What I mean by 'Clip Everything' is do not avoid coupons for brands you haven't tried.29 79¢ Sale Price 99¢ 59¢ Coupon Value 25¢ 30¢ Doubled Value 60¢ 50¢ Net Cost To You FREE 29¢ 49¢ % Savings Off Original Price 100% 82% 63% $1. which will typically show each brand they manufacture. And that's just about the best possible way to stretch your grocery budget. it results in what you will come to know as 'Coupon Nirvana'. A good way to tell is to look at the photo on the coupon. or coupons that at first glance seem worthless. If you follow my techniques for regular. But as you can see in our example. And the 'nickel and dime' coupons that you might think worthless can really add up in certain situations. you can look at the logos on the box to verify that it's one of their brands. For example. systematic couponing.there is no need to clip a coupon for denture cream if you're twentyfive and have a full set of pearly whites. over and over again. After all. it is a thrill you will enjoy every week. it means that it is ONLY good for Brand A Peanut Butter. and they deserve the sale it generates.00 Many people will pass over a 30¢ coupon as trivial. it can lead to getting a product totally FREE. BRAND REQUIREMENTS When a coupon says it is good for Brand A Peanut Butter. It's not the free merchandise that is the reward. Here's an example: Item Hot Sauce Crackers Ketchup Original Price $1.
The variation that was on sale wasn't even near the display sign! Was this an intentional deception on the part of the store manager. "Singles". For example. This is especially true with brands that have extensive product lines such as 'healthy' or 'diet' foods. You should always double-check the flavor or brand variation. sign placement. and sign wording. Another thing to watch is that you select the BRAND VARIATION a given coupon is valid for. only to realize at the checkout line that the coupon is for a different implementation of the same brand. Another thing I'd like to point out about Brand Requirements is that you can't believe your eyes when it comes to signs. The scanner will reject the coupon if you haven't selected the exact same type shown on the coupon. "Grilled Specialties" and "Bowls". SIGNS LIE. 42 . but bad if you select the wrong variation and have to pay full price for it. WRONGO-PONGO! The ad stated that the "Natural Choice" version was on sale. If you picked up two of the non-sale variation. All four are frozen dinners.50 per package). so just go ahead and pick any two and get the deal.99 for two (net cost $2. Bringing home the bacon gets a lot more expensive if you aren't on the alert. one frozen dinner manufacturer offers "Duos".that you receive your discount on these types of coupons. You may see the brand name on the package and think it is the product described on the coupon. They're great for finicky eaters. be on the alert that it's easy to select the wrong product. because they often won't scan properly. The immediate inclination is to assume that all three of these variations were on sale. There was a giant display sign in the middle of three different variations of the brand's bacon. but the sign was placed among the regular versions of the product. but the coupon may be valid for only one of these four types of frozen dinners. you'd pay about $7. and they may have five or even ten line extensions in the same food category. I had an experience recently where the store's print ad said that a particular brand of bacon was on BOGO sale. The industry calls these "line extensions". If you see a wall full of products with the same brand logo.00 extra for the same amount of meat. and the price of the NON-sale bacon was $5. or simply an honest mistake on the part of a sleepy stock clerk? You be the judge… but the price of the sale bacon was $4.99 per individual package.
Do I need two of this item.e. The one time that this quantity issue goes away is when the item is on BOGO (Buy One / Get One FREE). Check the dates first. "Save $1. i. "that item was on sale last week. The face value of the coupon is automatically cut in HALF. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS Some coupons require multiple purchases. When an item rings up wrong. especially when you know you're right. FLYERS LIE. I would tend to think that a lot of shoppers made a mistake in their selection. SALES CLERKS LIE. So don't believe what you see. they're not so certain. and the coupon will be authorized. there is nothing you can do about it. Factor this in when you are doing your 'net cost' calculations. and you will still enjoy the full value of the coupon discount. The clerks don't necessarily clean out the shopping carts every day. I've had sales clerks state with 100% certainty. And once you've left the store." I pull out the current sales flyer and show them the item. All of a sudden.And given that the sale sign was in the largest portion of the meat cooler among the largest inventory of all the brands of bacon sold in that store. and in fact they seem ticked that they were caught in a lie. If you find a sales flyer in your shopping cart. 43 . don't use it until you verify that it's the current flyer. So don't be afraid to stick to your guns.00 on 2". believe what you verify before you check out. All you can do is to be more careful in the future. because you must buy two of them. These type of coupons should put up red flags in your mind: a. The cashier will scan two boxes of the product. so you will have technically purchased two. you can't return food if there was no mistake on the store's part. but it's not on sale now. But you will only be charged for one item. So a flyer you find in the cart on a Sunday could have expired the day before. and will I consume this quantity within the normal shelf life of the product? b.
you may find that you have a different coupon for the required brand of cookies. You have to understand that there are over 10. be sure to read the fine print. take the coupon and the flavor you want to the Customer Service window and ask. The same rule applies to flavors. bottle. If in doubt. They will scan the product and the coupon and let you know if the coupon is valid on that specific variation of the product. You may actually come out ahead buying store brand cookies and cereal. The manufacturer may have an interest in promoting sales of their 32 oz. bottle only. The coupon may say that the discount is available on the "barbeque" flavor of sauce. You may find that there are three other flavor choices on the shelf. In other words. For example.CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS This is another area where discretion is the better part of valor.50) and the full retail price of their cereal ($4. the coupon may say "FREE half-gallon of milk". Bear in mind that they are counting on you to pay the full retail price of their cookies ($3. One way to get increased value through 'matching requirement coupons' is to use ANOTHER coupon for the items required.00). because sometimes the coupon is valid for all four flavors. It pays to do the math quickly in your head before using a matching requirement coupon. In most cases.000 items in the typical grocery store. It may require a matching purchase. and paying the regular price for your milk. So if the coupon says the discount is valid on the 32 oz.35). bottle. and is trying to sway people away from buying the 16 oz. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS If a coupon offer looks too good to be true. and possibly a third coupon for the particular brand of cereal. that is the rule. the store's 44 . in the example above. bottle. There is no hard-and-fast rule about this. The fine type may include the actual offer: Free milk when you buy a 16 oz. and in other cases it is valid for the one flavor only. box of our cereal. package of our cookies AND an 18 oz. The scanner will not accept the coupon if you try to use it with a 16 oz. So you must spend $7.85 to get a 'free' half-gallon of milk ($2.
you are now getting the peaches for FREE. Another example is the 'Bonus Buys' that a store will offer. IT MUST BE ON SALE. so the coupon is entered differently from the others and the store’s computer will not reject it as an attempted double redemption. box of cereal and NOT the 18 oz.00.00 for 3 boxes of cereal. You'll now be paying $4. they're marked down to 50¢. or approximately $1. the bonus may apply to the 28 oz. IF THERE'S NO SIGN. BONUS BUYS.50 for the milk. A typical example of this is in cereals: All Brand "A" cereals on a list will be 3 for $5. typically on a 45 . Since the store will automatically double the coupon at check-out time. HYPER VALUES If you use only one strategy out of these coupon value-increasing ideas. the cashier must manually enter the price of the free item into the cash register. Instead of 99¢. plus the cashier will take off the $1. In most cases. (Be sure to check the product name and package size requirements. make sure you understand and use the strategy of 'Hyper Values'. You happen to have a coupon for this brand offering 25¢ off a single can of fruit. use it.computer will not consider these to be competing coupons. It's important to note that many of the special deals available at a store are NOT advertised on the store shelf. they offer them at 50% off. You never know until you try. Here's how it works: Let's say that your store is overstocked with a certain brand and size of canned peaches. The only way you'll find them is to read the flyer that shows up in your morning newspaper.00 off on any 3 boxes of Brand "A" cereal. If they are overstocked on a particular manufacturer's line of cereal – or perhaps the manufacturer's rep really needs to boost volume in your area and extends special pricing to the store – you may find that your store extends a 'Bonus Buy' across the entire product line.33 per box. So if you had a 50¢ coupon for the cookies and a 35¢ coupon for the cereal. It just doesn't get any better than this. box of cereal – so you could end up paying MORE for a SMALLER box if you're not careful!) If you have a coupon for $1. you could get $1.70 in doubled value for these coupons.
Wednesday or Thursday. These same flyers are also available on a rack when you enter the store. What is really laughable is that literally NOBODY picks up a flyer when they enter the store. How many times have you seen somebody poring over a store flyer before they shop? Almost never. The reason? It's déclassé, and most people 'just don't have time for that'. Again, if your time is more valuable than your money, breeze on by the stack of flyers. The 2 minutes you save by NOT reading the flyer could end up costing you $10, $20 or more. (But hey, it's only money).
Big Idea Recap – Chapter 6
BIG IDEA 23: The greatest savings in the “grocery game” are achieved when you PLAN in advance to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you ever hit the aisles of your grocery store. BIG IDEA 24: The closer to the coupon expiration date, the greater the chances that an additional promotion on the product has already started. It means that you can save even more on the same product. BIG IDEA 25: The food manufacturers know that many people will NEVER clip a coupon. For every person who REDEEMS a coupon, 10 others will READ the coupons and associate those brands with value. In other words, coupons are used to build impressions in your mind that certain products offer excellent quality AND value – regardless of whether they actually do or not. Unless you actually clip and redeem the coupon, you won’t receive that extra value. BIG IDEA 26: Watch for 'tripling' events. This is when a store offers triple the face value of the coupon. Some stores limit this promotion to 50¢, but others will triple up to 99¢ – so many of your items will be totally free after the discount. BIG IDEA 27: Sometimes, the lower the coupon value, the greater the net discount. (WHAT? Did I read that right, or is it a typographical error?) No, you did not read it incorrectly. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store.
BIG IDEA 28: Take advantage of BOGO deals on non-perishable items, even when you don't have an immediate need for the item. Canned goods or cleaning supplies will keep just fine for a year or two on the shelf – and you won't have to pay full-price the next time you need the item. BIG IDEA 29: If your grocer allows you to buy only one item at half-price under a 'BOGO' deal AND you are using a coupon on the purchase, your net savings amount for the one item will be much higher that if you purchased two units of the same item. BIG IDEA 30: Clip every coupon that is for a product that some member of your household could use, even if you've never tried the brand before. You might find a super-special on the item, and you might end up liking it more than your current brand. BIG IDEA 31: Check, double-check, even triple-check to make sure that the brand variation shown on your coupon is the same as the item you put into your shopping cart. If it's wrong, you will probably end up paying full price for the item. BIG IDEA 32: Don't make assumptions when selecting items that are on sale. Pick up a sales flyer when you first enter the store, and compare the wording & photo of the sale item to the item in your shopping cart; if it doesn't match exactly, investigate until you are certain that you have the correct sale item. Don't trust signs or sales flyers until you verify that the dates and brand variations shown are correct. BIG IDEA 33: Be wary of "save on 2" or "save on 3" coupons. You have to buy so many of the item, it can negate the net value of the coupon. BIG IDEA 34: If a coupon shows a photo of a particular flavor, don't assume it's valid for all flavors unless this is specifically stated on the coupon. BIG IDEA 35: If the purchase of 2 or 3 different items is required to get a free item, you may be able to use additional coupons to lower the cost of the 2 or 3 items individually. BIG IDEA 36: You can get certain items for FREE is you have a coupon
for sale items and your store doubles the value of your coupon. Read the ads, match your coupons to the ads, and do the math. It's that easy. BIG IDEA 37: Sometimes buying the bigger box costs less than buying the smaller box. BIG IDEA 38: The store is not required to call your attention to the items that are on sale. To get the best values you have to take note of the items that are featured in the store’s sales flyer, find those items, verify that you have selected the EXACT size / brand / variation that is on sale, and purchase those items. The sale items won’t jump into your cart by themselves (but if you’re not careful, similar products that you THINK are on sale but are actually NOT on sale, will be the ones that end up in your cart...)
Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons
There are many different gadgets and custom wallets on the market to help you organize your coupons. Some cost only a few dollars, others cost $15, $20 or more. YOU DON'T NEED THEM! There's a method I use that is basically free, uncomplicated, and flexible. It's simple, it's easy to remember, and once you get the hang of it, it will make finding your coupons a breeze. Use 8 ordinary white envelopes. If you're super-cheap, you can even re-use bank envelopes, payroll envelopes, or business reply envelopes from your junk mail, (now that's REALLY cheap.) When the envelopes wear out, simply replace them. I keep mine bundled with a rubber band, and I store them in the glove box of my car. That way, I always know where they are. Also they're easy to stick in a pocket when I head into the store. The 8 envelopes are categories of products and stores. Write the category and item listings on each of your envelopes, as follows: BAKED GOODS Bread / Baking Supplies Refrigerated Dinner Rolls / Biscuits Cereal Cookies / Crackers Chips / Candy / Nuts / Popcorn / Snacks CANNED GOODS & BEVERAGES Vegetables Salad Soup Fruit Juices / Soda Coffee MEAT & FROZEN Lunchmeats
$40. If you can't set aside 15 minutes per week to deal with your coupons.- Bacon / Sausage / Fresh Meats Any Frozen Product (except Ice Cream) CONDIMENTS & SIDE DISHES Pasta / Sauces Boxed Meal Mixes Rice / Grains Salad Dressing Peanut Butter / Jelly Spices / Salt / Sugar Cooking Oil DAIRY Milk / Cheese / Sour Cream Eggs Ice Cream / Toppings Pudding / Dips CLEANING SUPPLIES Household Cleaning Products Paper Products Dog / Cat Food PERSONAL PRODUCTS Personal Hygiene Items / Soaps / Deodorant Medicine RESTAURANT & STORE DISCOUNTS Store Discount Coupons (i. $50 or more and use your 15 minutes for more productive things – like watching TV. it's important that you dedicate yourself to saving money. I'm 50 . $5. You should simply spend the extra $30.00 off any $30 Order) Restaurant / Retail Store Coupons Specific-Store Coupons.e.e. Drug Store Coupons HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR COUPONS First off. i. Yes. reading a magazine or talking on the phone. the system won't work.
and. I use a small wicker basket. Canned Goods. I find that it helps to set a specific time. it can be embarrassing. Keep all coupons in one place until they are sorted. obviously don't clip that coupon. it can actually be illegal. and simply put the Sunday coupon sections in there until I have time to go through them. It's bad form. but the truth of the matter is that saving money takes time and dedication. I lay the envelopes out on the table in 2 rows. If it's something you wouldn't even consider using. I open the envelopes one by one and pull out any expired coupons. But if it's something that you'd consider trying if it was free. It's like anything else – a diet. When you have the time. When it's time to do my sorting. – SORT ALL AT ONCE. NEVER try to use an out-of-date coupon. clip the coupon: it may end up free to you if you play your coupons right… – REVIEW EXPIRATION DATES. Before going on a shopping trip (or at least once every few weeks). or a sport – you have to do the same things like clockwork for an extended period of time before you will ever see any results. I keep my coupon envelopes held together with a rubber band. – CLIP ALL AT ONCE. if you do it knowingly. as follows: – CENTRAL LOCATION. Cleaning Supplies I put the final two envelopes to the side. place and routine for organizing and maintaining your coupons. a hobby. Dairy. because you really don’t tend to get as many coupons in the Personal Products and Restaurant 51 . Side Dishes Right row top to bottom: Breads. in a specific order: Left row top to bottom: Meats. go through your envelopes and remove all expired coupons. It's important that you do not reject coupons by brand name or familiarity at this point. Then.being sarcastic. go through the coupon sections and cut out any coupon you might consider using. You have to have an almost religious zeal for following the system (or whatever system you prefer) and stick to it.
you'll have a lot of perishable items in your cart that will melt or lose freshness while you are browsing the inner aisles of the grocery store. If you follow the expert's advice. so I tend to focus on those most of all. and you could be keeping them out of refrigeration for a dangerous amount of time. follow each step to its completion in a quick and determined manner.& Store Discount categories. I leave plenty of room between the envelopes.e. and will make it more relaxing and stress-free. The benefit of following a routine is that you end up sorting without having to think about it. Do it the same way each week. Most of your coupons will be in the “big six”. they could be out of refrigeration for 45. when I'm done. 60. meats. Of course. bundle the envelopes back up with my rubber band. Health experts will tell you to shop the perimeter of a grocery store first. this doesn't 52 . and easier to stick to. it’s just mentally easier. If you do this. etc. SHOPPING TIME: organize your shopping trip to save time and keep food fresh. you can develop your own routine. For example. If you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. Add in your drive time home. Remember. even 90 minutes. anything you can do to save time with your system will make it easier to follow.. The most important thing is that you need an establish a fixed routine. Of course. if you buy fresh meats and you put them in your cart first. It's a good thought. and do it all at once. baked goods. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. and throw away my pile of expired coupons. I put the new coupons in the envelopes. This will make short work out of organizing your coupons. but not always practical if you've got a family and have to stock up on a wide range of items every time you shop. bread & cereal is always top right. i. you'll load up on fresh fruits & vegetables. Then. and simply stack my new coupons immediately below each of the envelopes. lunch meat / frozen foods always go to the top left. etc. and avoid the processed foods on the inner aisles.
When you have an appealing coupon. Many people would simply look at the two coupons side by side: Brand A's coupon gives you $1.99. the 50¢ Brand B coupon will be doubled in value at the checkout counter. MATCH. And chances are. Plus. right? WRONG! In this case. making Brand B a better value choice right from the start. But you may not be enjoying the BEST value. SCAN all products in the category to see what's on sale today. 2. you may be tempted to search out that exact item and buy it.49.e.00 off coupon. Immediately put the coupon in your designated coupon pocket or other storage place. $1. consider that you may have a coupon for the Brand B item. POCKET.00 off. REVIEW all coupons that you have for the category to see if you have coupons for the items that are on sale. It takes a little discipline. SCAN. you will find that 53 . and Brand B's coupon gives you 50¢ off. you'll pay $2. THE SYSTEM There are four simple steps when using store coupons: 1.49. you'll get a good value by buying Brand A. Let's say the Brand B coupon is for 50¢ off. your net cost of buying it will be $1.apply to produce. because Brand B is on sale for $2. With your dollar off. But 'Brand B' may be on sale for $2. and they'll arrive home in much better condition. i. and that's the place to start shopping first.49 – fully ONE HALF THE NET COST OF THE BRAND A ITEM!!! Over time. There is literally nothing you can buy in the store that is better for your family's health than fresh fruit and vegetables. Let's review why each of these steps is critical to your couponing success.00 off on an item we'll call 'Brand A'. Save the bread. meat and frozen foods for last. so when you buy this brand you'll pay less without using a coupon. As an even better value proposition. 3. so the Brand A coupon offers you better savings. so it's EQUAL in value to Brand A's $1. but your family will eat healthier if you focus your shopping in this section. 4.99. When you have a match of coupon and sale item put the item in your cart. dairy products. Let's say that Brand A's normal price is $3.
They grab the first thing they see that looks appealing. try and run a taste-test contest with your family. do you really think your family will not eat the generic peas? Unless they see the cans. But here's a little secret (one I know from having worked at a pickle factory during summer break at college). they don't shut down the production line. because that is the only way they can get maximum efficiency and return on investment on their plants. I know. folks – it's a little-told secret of the food processing industry. which go for about three times the cost of generic. Most people are reactive shoppers. Cook both items. Another quick test is to compare the bottle design. while a generic can of peas will look lackluster. they have a great food products section. they typically won't know the difference. the higher-priced items will be at eye level. Yes. and serve them up in identical dishes. And frankly. I can assure you. the results will be laughable: the value brand will be preferred in many cases. one of the high-priced brand and one of the low-priced store brand. not all generics offer the same quality as the top-shelf brands. Yes. You may notice that the higher-priced brands look better. and the highest-price space is right at eye level. REVIEW. I prefer the 'baby' peas. and used the generic-brand labels. You'll find that in most stores.SCANNING the entire product category before making a selection will be your #1 key to saving. So when their factory reaches their quota of producing the name-brand product. At my local dollar store. But when they're cooked and on your table. They change the labels! If you doubt this. What did we do when we reached our quota of the name brand product for the week? Well… we switched out the paper on the labeling machine. Manufacturers pay a 'slot fee' to buy shelf space. The plant I worked at manufactured one of the top-selling brands of pickles in the world. because these manufacturers put a lot of effort into their packaging. Buy two cans of an identical item. They carry lots of 54 . See if your family can correctly identify which is the high-priced brand and which is the value brand. A can of toppriced peas will look delicious and inviting. They gear up to keep their factories running 24/7.
Their off-brand version of Worcestershire sauce is in a bottle that is shaped remarkably like the #1 brand in the world. chunky soup. and you’ll enjoy a real deal. it tastes just like the leading brand. Check the brand name. but in some cases it is. One top brand sells regular soup. POCKET the coupon. But if you try them. I'm not saying that every item you pick up in a dollar store is going to be identical to the leading brand. for example. In fact. It may not always be the same quality as the leading brands. The coupons they issue are typically good for just one of their soup categories. as well as the expiration date. Some brands have four or five categories that are completely different. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or storebrand product. and the coupon may only be good for one category of item. When you taste the sauce. you might find that they’re the identical product made by the leading name-brand manufacturer. I mean that you should give a final check of the coupon details and the product details BEFORE you put the item into your cart. Last but not the least. Most of the biggest. You have to physically present ALL of your coupons at the checkout counter 55 . some of them will be downright awful. it would simply be too costly for them to change recipes or ingredients to produce the 'off brands'. By this. POCKET. So if you're astute and willing to do a little testing. etc. flavor. you could find that your coupon is rejected at the checkout counter – the ultimate coupon-cutter's nightmare. You've seen above why it's important to SCAN all of the shelves for the best item and REVIEW all of your coupon and sale combination.. kitchen select soup. but it's actually very important. If you forget to MATCH the specifics of the coupon offer to the EXACT LABEL on the soup can. This may seem like a really dumb step. MATCH. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. Now that you've chosen the best possible combination. home-style soup. you need to MATCH your coupon to the item before you commit to the buy. Take soup. size.condiments and sauces. and single-serving microwavable soup for one.
on every shopping trip. to be thrown away at the first trash can I encounter. they won't be redeemed. If they don't make it into the hands of the checkout clerk. does this sound too elementary and ridiculous to you? It won't. Here's another reason why you have to be diligent in PHYSICALLY TRANSFERRING THE COUPON to your "POCKET" location for redemption. that's just the way I do it – and it may not be the best choice for you. and follow it like clockwork. but that's just a personal preference. Again. Every minute you put into organizing your coupons will 56 . the easier it is to use – and the easier it is to use. You can't go back! Once your shopping transaction is completed. the store won't let you go back and turn your coupons in. And it WILL add up over time. So the coupons in your pocket that would have been worth $20 or $30 in actual cash savings will now be worth diddly-squat. especially if you have ever gotten in your car and realized that you forgot to present your coupons at the checkout counter. Create your own system or use mine. You could have taken the family to the movies with that money. the more likely you are to stick with it over time. Have you ever gotten home with your shopping bags and realized that there was an on-pack coupon that you forgot to use? Nothing is more galling than seeing a 50¢ "REDEEM ME NOW" coupon stuck to a box that you have already bought. I use my left pocket. Just make sure you have a true system. I crush it up and put it in my right pocket. During the course of my shopping trip. BIG IDEA 40: If you can't FIND the coupons you need. So it's important to get in the habit of POCKETING all of the coupons you plan to use.when you are buying your groceries. if I find that I have an expired coupon. you can't REDEEM them. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 7 BIG IDEA 39: The simpler the system. If you do things the same way each week. Again. and putting them all in one safe secure place. you will systematically save money. but now it's gone.
. BIG IDEA 48: Make it a routine to keep your coupons in the EXACT SAME PLACE every time you go shopping. you'll never maximize your full potential of reducing your food budget. BIG IDEA 45: Don't let the high price of an item scare you off buying it. it's a sure way to remember to present them to the cashier before you pay. In other words. once you leave the store.be paid back to you in greater savings at the cash register. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. buying more EXPENSIVE foods could actually SAVE you money. Plan out a mental "road map" of how you will routinely shop in that store. BIG IDEA 42: Keep an open mind as to which products you would consider trying. BIG IDEA 44: Learn the layout of your grocery store(s). If you are astute and willing to do a little testing.. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. and you'll reduce your in-store time significantly. If you only consider buying familiar products or ones you've tried and used before. calculate the FINAL COST of the item in your head after factoring in the doubled coupon value. BIG IDEA 43: if you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. your coupons aren't worth the paper they're printed on… 57 . Remember. and you can actually SAVE MONEY by buying the EXPENSIVE brand! BIG IDEA 46: Most of the biggest. don't let the 'bargain' price of an item make it your #1 choice. similarly. Follow that road map every time you do your big weekly shopping run. BIG IDEA 41: Consistency is the key to effectiveness in any system. Do things the same way every time. Reading the fine print can save you a bundle at the checkout counter. BIG IDEA 47: Don't assume that a coupon is good for all sizes / flavors / variations of a particular brand item – even if it seems to be an obvious match. and you'll get better at them day after day. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or store-brand product. you'll become more alert to spotting bargains and avoiding impulse buys.
S. or you simply find the whole process distasteful.. Mint. (Feels good.!) Step 3..Chapter 8: The Currency vs. insert the dollar bill into the shredder. I don’t waste REAL money. the 50¢ coupon would have been doubled in value at the time of redemption. try taking the 'Currency vs. currency is illegal. and one by a food manufacturer. people! 59 . and think they aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Now.Coupon Litmus Test If you are still questioning whether or not you are a "coupon person" (or could ever become one. You may think you're not a candidate to save money.) here is one sure way to settle the issue once and for all. chances are there is one somewhere in your office. Does shredding the dollar bill bother you more than shredding the coupon? Why? At most grocery stores. it is presented here for comparison purposes only. Turn the shredder on. Locate a paper shredder. Do not actually implement this test. Okay. too. so it is IDENTICAL IN VALUE to the dollar bill. Coupon Litmus Test'. It's true: some people have complete and total disdain for grocery coupons.* (Hey wait. either because you just can't be bothered to clip coupons. *NOTE: Destruction of U. and insert the 50¢ coupon into the shredder. Step 2. Step 4. Step 5. doesn’t it?) Take a dollar bill out of your wallet or purse. Look in your Sunday newspaper coupon section. Keep this one fact in mind: the grocery store cash register doesn't care which is which: it sees both items as having a $1. and for shock value. The only difference is that they were issued by different entities: one by the U. Step 1. that’s REAL money we’re talking about. Wake up and smell the mocha java.00 value against the total purchase price of your groceries. and find a 50¢ coupon for a product that your family uses on a regular basis.S. If you are concerned that you may just be this type of person.
I've caught myself about to make a mistake like this many times. you're throwing away cash. and to be perfectly honest with you. coupon in hand. Some people say.00 item for 29¢ and you have to pay $1. but sometimes you just don't have those extra 15 minutes. But think like a fisherman: you can whine about the ones that got away. Then. If this is your situation. And remember: there is no way for you to know which items will be on special at your grocery store in three or four weeks. store sells single item for half the price. "don't you feel like you've wasted a lot of time when you throw away expired coupons?" There is a bit of truth in this. you don't know what's going to be on sale at your store in three or four weeks. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. If you're throwing away the coupons from your Sunday paper. especially when you're throwing away a stack of 50 or 75 coupons that you painstakingly clipped a few months earlier. just take an extra second to check the expiration date before you transfer the coupon to your left pocket. BIG IDEA 50: Unless you're an industry insider or a psychic. The couponer's nightmare is thinking you've just scored the ultimate trifecta: BOGO deal. you're still getting a great deal – but it's a huge let-down because you got tripped up by the fundamentals. the cashier informs you that the coupon you have presented is expired. It's all just part of the process. It only takes an extra 15 minutes or so when you're adding new coupons. or you can revel in the ones that you caught.CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS: purging your expired coupons. When you think you're getting a $3. 60 . I only purge my coupons about once every month or so. The coupon that you didn't clip might be the one that you wished you had later on… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 8 BIG IDEA 49: Coupons work just like currency at the cash register. I sometimes get in a hurry.59 for it. The coupon you don't clip because you "can't afford that brand" could have made that item cheaper than the store brand on your next shopping trip.
In most stores. the regular price. They will typically show two prices: A. All of these items feature a barcode. Look for the special discount signs on products throughout the store. You join the club.Chapter 9: Clubs. Often. and typically they give you a plastic sheet with a punch-out membership card and a couple of punch out key fobs. As any astute shopper knows. and the computer will instantly recognize you as a club member. the ONLY way you can get the 'sale' prices on the item is to be a member of their shopping club. Cards & Counterintelligence FREQUENT SHOPPER CARDS: Value. minimally tells you) is that their system is collecting information on your family's purchasing habits and product preferences. a store makes more money by selling this information than they do on the products you have purchased! Why is your information so valuable? The truth is individual family 61 . You must join every club. Here's how these clubs work: 1. You sign up for the program at the Customer Service counter. and B. You will receive the club member discount price on the featured items. you present your card or your key fob to the cashier. They sell this information to data compilers and marketing firms. with a price. 4. The cashier will scan the barcode on the card or key fob. 3. JOIN. When you go to check out. SHOP. the club member's price. Why? Because you will save money immediately and instantly every time you shop. and the barcode identifies you to the store's computer every time you shop there. at every store you shop in – even if you only shop there once or twice per year. the only way to get the lowest prices in the grocery store is to join the store's frequent shopper club program. What the store DOESN'T tell you (or at best. SCAN. 2. GET ANALYZED.
This translates into huge sales and huge revenues for the manufacturers. they will realize that they DO NOT have to lower the price of this product below this point to maintain market share. they will monitor the sales of this item by the total number of items sold. so they make the most money off of you. If they find that families with your demographic indicators participate in this pricing offer 45% more than families with lower incomes. BUT – they will also be monitoring the demographics of the people purchasing them. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store.19.99'. Of course.e. Let's say for example that the store features a national brand of cookies at a special rate. your data can help identify trends and validate information that is VERY profitable to the grocery product industry. i. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they 62 . But as a member of a specific demographic group. let's say that your household income is between $75. The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. The national brands pay the highest shelf fees. when the normal price of a single item is $2. your age is 35 to 40 and you have 3 children under the age of 10. They will have learned that their target audience – affluent young families with children – are perfectly happy to buy two units at a total savings of 40¢ – and there is no need to offer a lower price point or a 'Buy one / get one free' package deal. '2 for $3.000 and $80. because they know that most consumers are lazy and will buy the first product that they see in the category they are shopping for.000. For example. and the grocery industry wants you to buy the smallest packages of the most expensive brands at the highest prices.information is not extremely valuable by itself. That is why a national brand gets the middle shelves that are at eye level. Here's something else that few shoppers know: consumer product manufacturers pay stores a 'slot fee' for the space on their shelves. and the discount store brands get the bottom shelves. The market will have spoken loud and clear and saved the manufacturer a ton of money in promoting that specific product. You are a powerhouse consumer. "Big Brother" is alive and well. They are committed to influencing you to shop this way.
you have to fill out a registration form. Now. As a club member. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… This is all a long way of saying that discount clubs will save you money every time you shop. talking participant in the world's largest focus group. they are in essence telling the store manager.will pay any cost for a particular item. Welcome to the Maze. etc. in infinite detail. That little store tag you keep on your key chain has a barcode. CLUB MEMBER CODE. Every different size / shape / flavor has a unique code that is captured when the check-out clerk scans the package. just about every purchase you make is being monitored. (ever notice that they ALWAYS keep the cheese in the back of the store…?) The truth of the matter is that shoppers' clubs are the ultimate tool used by the food industry to make you a walking. you're not too far off the mark. 2. The real goal behind these clubs is something… well…. too. although they will. If you've ever thought that the aisles in your grocery store can seem like a rat maze in a testing laboratory. marital status. before you get shocked or scared or decide to quit the shopper's club (a truly BAD idea). recorded and analyzed for future use by marketing firms. But the main purpose of these clubs is not to save you money. slightly more sinister. you can't keep any secrets from the grocery store's computer. REGISTRATION. let's look at how this happens: 1. Guess what product that code 63 . Every item in the store carries a product code. You need to join them. The computer knows what every item is. street address. They may ask you for some demographic information such as your age. Most of this information is available from national consumer databases anyway. you can see it below the barcode on the package. etc. PRODUCT CODE. 3. You tell them your name. children's age. To get your discount card or key tag that entitles you to discounts at the store.
It knows that you got crazy last November and tried the balsamic vinaigrette but it probably wasn't a hit because you didn't buy it again. they'll sell it to just about anyone who wants it. But it doesn't know that you like to sneak out and get a pint of premium ice cream on a Saturday night. They've picked it. no… Of course it DOES know that your household consumes 1. their loyal customer? This information is worth BIG BUCKS to people in the industry. The computer knows who you are. so they can get to the ultimate solution faster. And it knows that you tried a competing grocery chain in August because the 1. packaged it. manufacturer "B" may 'cut to the chase' quicker by purchasing this information. Scary stuff. huh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce…. The ultimate solution being.represents? It's YOU. the top 1/10th of that 64 . And these guys know all about the low-hanging fruit. in a word. surely they're keeping it private – aren't they??? Well.4 bottles of Italian salad dressing per month. and they can reap this data to sell more of THEIR product using the data. shipped it. NO. 4. But if you view the nation as a giant pyramid based on affluence.4 bottle level dropped to 0. compared to your neighbor across the street whose family consumes 2. It knows that you have tried the store brand dressing once. getting you to buy more stuff at a higher price and consume it faster. and what you buy. Why would they do this to you. They can save a year or more of expensive research time. But wait a minute – isn't it true that the affluent neighborhoods sell more of everything at a higher price. no.1 bottles per month. In fact. So if manufacturer "A" has a wealth of information on the salad dressing preferences in a particular metropolitan area. so the manufacturers just focus on THOSE markets? Why would they mess with the many lower or middle-income neighborhoods in the nation? Actually. SHARED DATA. and sold it for years. people whose job is to SELL YOU MORE STUFF! Information is money and time is money. The information saves them time. does it? No.6 that month. where you live. If your grocery store chain knows all of these intimate details about your household. but prefer the name brand variety. this falls under the category of 'picking the lowest-hanging fruit first'.
Betty doesn't make a huge income. but she's doing alright. The manufacturers of "Berry Blop" cereal are envious. The good part of this whole process is that you are proving your worth to the food industry with every purchase you make. the majority of the profit for these food manufacturers is found in the secondary markets and lower. and lo and behold – the kids could care less whether they're eating Fruit Goop or Berry Blop. SIMPLY PUT: you may live in Podunk. ZERO 65 . So Betty starts getting some really interesting coupons in the mail or through the internet (see the online coupon section at the end of this book. Betty's happy because she saved a lot of cash. But the story doesn't end there… The manufacturers of Fruit Goop cereal notice that Betty's volume – a steady 4. because she's buying 4. Based on sheer numbers. but the information on your buying habits is just as important – and possibly even MORE important – than the buying habits of rich people on Rodeo Drive.7 boxes for the past 3 years – has dwindled to…. You're part of a larger consumer group. 5.3 million other shoppers like Betty who live in similar-size communities and make similar levels of income. Her kids seem to like "Fruit Goop" cereal. After all. let's look at a fictitious customer "Betty" who lives in a smaller rural city. So the kids are happy.) These values can help Betty really save some cash. So Betty redeems the coupon and brings the cereal home. To see how this works. not just the wealthiest households. and they'd sure like Betty to migrate over to their brands.7 boxes per month – and not the smaller boxes. EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. The bottom 90% of the pyramid is the lower to middle-income neighborhoods. they can use the same technique to influence the 15. if they can figure out how to get her to switch brands and become a loyal customer of theirs. GOOD DATA = GOOD VALUES. but the big family-size boxes. and the food manufacturer is happy because he's successfully migrated Betty away from Fruit Goop.pyramid is the affluent markets. if only she would try them.
BOXES! Flashing red lights and alarms are going off in the factory. "Something must be done," shouts the big boss with the cigar in his mouth. And so the legions of marketers snap into action and start blitzing Betty with huge discounts on Fruit Goop cereal. So now she can redeem these coupons on Fruit Goop and save even more money. The kids, meanwhile, are mass-consuming whatever she pours into their bowls. They're oblivious. Betty is ecstatic; her monthly food bills are going down. But wait, there's more… The manufacturer of Berry Blop notices that he's losing out again. He redoubles his effort – issuing even more coupons for the brand that he knows Betty's brood prefers two to one over Fruit Goop. So Betty uses those coupons on her next shopping trip. Repeat this cycle over and over, until the Betty clan outgrows their preference for excessivelysugared products, and wakes up to real nutrition. Then, the manufacturers start in on her new neighbors who have younger kids… While cynical and exaggerated, the example of "Betty" above is the basic process of couponing in America today. And while the delivery vehicles are not always so targeted, the industry is headed more and more in this direction. Take note of the coupons that are printed at the cash register: these are the principal ammunition in the household preference wars. Some coupons are printed and delivered directly to the household, but these are on a more infrequent basis due to the high cost. The biggest volume of activity in these wars takes place on a market-by-market level. The industry looks at overall performance by select demographic groups, and responds to the market as a whole by varying the coupon amounts and promotional activity by individual market. This is far more prevalent than individual household couponing. But the industry is getting more household-centric as technology gets more advanced. And certain changes in our technology-savvy households are closer than you think… 6. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO (TV) DINNER? (Apologies to Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn). Did you know that over-the-air TV broadcast is ending in 2009? More and more households are buying High Definition TV sets (HDTV), and soon everyone will have a digital receiver (or 2, 3, 4 or more) in their household. The color and clarity will be fantastic. The number and
diversity of the channels will be spectacular. And the commercials? Well, they'll be aimed directly between your eyes, or more specifically – your wallet. Let's say your name is Suzy Shopper and your neighbor across the street is Charlie Consumer, and you're both watching the latest chapter of "Desperate Cowgirls", the #1 network show far and wide. When it goes to commercial, you – Suzy Shopper – are viewing a commercial for the latest gas-guzzling vehicle to sputter out of Detroit. That's because you're driving a seven year old import, and your index potential for a new car purchase in the next six months is off the charts. Your neighbor Charlie, meanwhile, is viewing a commercial for golf clubs, because he plays golf six times a month. Hey – wait a minute – how did they know he's a golfer and I'm driving an old car??? And how the heck did they change those commercials out between our two households…??? This is simple stuff with the new technology in place today. And as far as knowing your lifestyle / hobbies / major purchases and brand preference? Heck, they even know what brand toothpaste you use… So how does this relate to you, Suzy Shopper and Charlie Consumer, each snug in your little condos in front of your blazing hot widescreen Plasma HDTVs? The marketers are coming for you both – individually and personally – and they're out for nothing less than total mind control. Okay, that sounded a little out there even for me… but the truth is that your buying habits are being monitored and addressed on increasingly-specific levels. The war for your wallet is gearing up for high speed, high-tech battle. And in the grand scheme of things, you are powerless to stop it. Sure, you can TiVo your way out of the commercials. But guess what? Soon enough, you won't WANT to. And here's why: Here you are, Suzy Shopper, watching the Cowgirls prance across your screen. Before you can grab the remote, a commercial for the new "MegaSmog V8 convertible" comes across your screen, and the graphic says, "Suzy – we'll pay you $100 to test drive this car today!" And you're thinking, "WOW – I could really use that $100 to buy 5 gallons
of gas for my current car, but I'm never going to buy a new car; I'll just go down there and get my free cash!" So you go down to the dealership, and you get your $100. The dealer is happy, too, because he knows that you are an interested shopper. He will continue to target you until you finally convert and buy the new car. It's a numbers game, so he's just happy to move you up the priority ladder among prospects. Meanwhile, your neighbor Charlie was previously watching Desperate Cowgirls, but he got bored and switched over to the Knitting Network. Guess what? The commercials followed him over there. In the future (i.e. now, or thereabouts), advertisers will buy time by households, segmented by very precise demographic indicators, rather than by blocks of time on a network. So whatever channel you select, you'll get a certain amount of household-specific offers. So Charlie is watching "Knit One / Purl, Too!" – on the knitting Network, his favorite hobby channel, and up comes a commercial for the latest set of golf clubs from Wham-Co. Charlie is perfectly happy with his old set of clubs, but the ad says, "Hey Charlie – come to Gargantuan Golf World this weekend, and we'll give you a dozen balls free – just for testing our new clubs.” Charlie was headed there to pick up some new balls anyway, so he says "what the heck" and heads off to the store. Soon thereafter, he's on the driving range blasting away with his new set of Wham-Co clubs, which, as he discovered at the store, he simply could not live without… THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It's really quite simple: whether you are a prospect for a new car, a set of golf clubs, or a year's supply of Fruit Goop cereal, your shopping selections are VERY IMPORTANT to manufacturers today. If you learn how to play their game and work their system, you can enjoy some real values and real savings. You may scoff at grocery coupons today. But coupons are coming your way, even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them.
Affix a "sucker" label to your forehead and tell people proudly that you pay full price. You're really not helping any cause or righting any wrongs by NOT participating in the program. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 9 BIG IDEA 51: If you "don't have time" to sign up for the grocery store shopper's club. the bargains are well worth it. for every item in the store. so make an informed decision for you and your family that matches your personal preferences and comfort levels. even if you only shop there once or twice a year. they are in essence telling the store manager. you DO end up saving money when you use the club card. and the truth is that this process will go on very well without you. So I don't have any problem in recommending shopping club membership to everyone. you "don't have time" to save money. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they will pay any cost for a particular item. every day. The decision to join the club or not join the club is a personal one. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… BIG IDEA 54: Get a frequent shopper cart at every grocery store you visit. There is really no down side to this or personal repercussions. be aware that every purchase you make – or don’t make – is being monitored. BIG IDEA 53: The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. getting the most for your shopping dollar is first and foremost. but you need to know that you’re part of one of the world’s largest focus groups of all time. But in my book.The firms that purchase your family's shopping habits and brand preferences from your local grocery store are doing it now. BIG IDEA 52: "Big Brother" is alive and well. 69 . so there are immediate benefits to you that can help your family's budget. thank you. Much of this data originates from the lowly-little 'frequent shopper club' tag sitting on your key chain. Is this whole process a bad thing or a good thing? Well. Are there long-term disadvantages? That is a debatable subject. and they will continue to do it in the future. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. If you are a member of a frequent-shopper club.
cell phones and other high-ticket items. BIG IDEA 58: Today's brand marketers know a LOT about you already.BIG IDEA 55: Concerned about privacy? Register using your work address. The sooner you start the process. you'll get the card immediately. or a P. If you're traveling on vacation and need groceries. You'll still get the card and enjoy the discounts. BIG IDEA 59: You may scoff at grocery coupons today. you'll have to pay with cash because they can get your address off your check or your credit/ debit card. not just the wealthiest households. You'll get more offers and better values over time. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them. The shopping actions of a lower-income household are monitored just as closely as those of the most affluent households. 70 .O. discounts and special values that other people won't enjoy. the sooner you'll get into the higher discount levels. BIG IDEA 60: Sign up for frequent shopper clubs at every grocery store you visit. HDTV sets. But coupons are coming your way. Of course. even if you don't plan to return anytime soon. BIG IDEA 56: EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. and you could save $10 or $20 just on your one visit. get a card at the grocery store in that area. even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. BIG IDEA 57: The more coupons you redeem. Box. because you’ll get lots of free stuff and better deals on virtually everything you buy – even cars. but it will be harder for the store to link this to your home address. If you learn how to play their game. the more interest you will attract from food marketers. you can enjoy increasing amounts of free stuff.
It's not always true. Here's a money-saving tip: wander over there at least once a month. hair coloring. My record on free items is $62 in one month. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. When it comes to pharmacies. hard-working youth of America. The store that you use to get your prescriptions filled is generally the store that you get your drug store supplies from. people are definitely creatures of habit. and every item was something that somebody in my family could use. The store doesn't care about giving $20 or $30 in rebate money to a senior. because some people get their prescriptions at the food store. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. this one technique alone could save you over $1. (Does anyone use toupee wax anymore? There's a question for the ages…) So if you're like most people. you rarely – if ever – venture over to the 'brand X' pharmacy. The target for these clubs is not the income-earning. These are typically found at the larger drug store chains. when they're 71 . which issue a monthly flyer of offers.000 a year on drug store supplies! It's no secret that the pharmacy chains are in big competition with each other. so most of the big chains offer rebate clubs. just to pick up their rebate club flyer. Seniors spend more per capita on prescriptions than any other demographic group. What is a rebate club? Simply put.Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. but people do tend to have their #1 favorite in terms of where they buy their shampoo. toupee wax. even if you don't normally shop there. Visit all the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. it is an ongoing store promotion that lets you purchase items and get some or all of the purchase price back in the form of a cash rebate. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. If you visit 3 stores a month. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Why you should join every one you can. etc.800 a year. it's the seniors.
They're trying to encourage repeat visits.00 rebate on a $2.99 rebate for buying it. because some manufacturers will offer a $3. REVIEW THE OFFERS. unless you are super-diligent and/or a frequent visitor to that store anyway. but it's really more trouble than it's worth. because they don't want low-dollar customers to take advantage of the rebates. a $7. You will typically find items that are offered with a 100% rebate. the next item may also give you a 100% rebate. the first free item may earn you a 100% rebate. but in some tourist destinations you have to ask the cashier for a copy of the rebate book. (HINT: be a 'freebie' nut. This is a subtle way by which they try to discourage the 'freebie' nuts that will take anything for free – even if they don't want or need it. Be sure to process your .going to buy $200 or $300 in prescriptions each month.99 item. One major drug store chain that will go unnamed has started to stagger their rebate offers throughout the month. $2.) 3. I have found that some national chains offer the rebate club in all markets. MAIL IN THE REBATE REQUEST.99 bottle of sun tan lotion with a $7. In other words.00 off the purchase price of the item. Apparently.e. The truth is that the stores cannot legally exclude any individual from getting the rebates.00. Or it could be that they only want to offer the book to seniors. Others will be $1. It's critical that you check the valid dates of the offer. You have to check these carefully. but they only tell you this in the fine print. You may be a struggling young family with a little cash in the bank but you are entitled to get the rebates just like anyone else. but you have to purchase it between the 8th and 16th of the month.00 or $3. In most drug stores. GET THE REBATE BOOK OR FLYER. they don't want tourists with disposable cash to get a break on anything – especially if they're ready to pay full price without question. 2. Here's how rebate club programs typically work: 1. it's really free. the flyer is on a rack as you enter the store. but they don't want people buying it just because of that. but you must buy it between the first and 7th of the month. CHECK THE OFFER DATES. i. 72 4.
The sad truth is that a very high percentage of people who intend to mail in their rebate requests never quite get around to it. CHECK THE POSTMARK DATE REQUIREMENTS. you can photocopy your outer envelope with the postmark date. so they’ll use any and all excuses not to issue the rebate check. "I'll do it later" – because out of sight is out of mind. or they will refuse it. It's a good practice to photocopy everything and keep in a file. What you DON'T want to do is say. KEEP A PHOTO COPY. if you are responding to a January Rebate Club offer. which is the next critical point. How did I do it? I had back-up ammunition. SIDE NOTE: if you are allowed to use your company postage meter. READ THE REQUIREMENTS. 7. but you can bet that I called them out on it and eventually got my rebate. Some rebates require that you cut out the barcode off the product. Read the fine print. because some of these stores will deny you the rebate if you don't do everything they say. Some of the less-scrupulous clubs or their 3rd party vendors will try to get around sending you a rebate check. Here's a rule that works for me: I don't allow myself to put the products away until I have completed the rebate forms AND sealed the envelope.rebate request and mail it off IMMEDIATELY when you get home. exactly the way they say it. 5. For most clubs. if you haven't gotten your rebate. The retailers call this "breakage". and they are counting on you to procrastinate. Another critical item is the postmark date on your mail-in rebate request. don't procrastinate: set a filing procedure that works for you and stick to it. I was once denied a $50 rebate check because the store’s cash register didn’t date the receipt. After a few months. your mail-in request MUST be postmarked by February 5th. If you want to be sure you get every extra dollar that's coming to you. The stores really don’t want to give you the rebate. Think you can ‘slide’? Don’t count on it. and most people will surely forget to do the paperwork – thus. How does a cash register malfunction and not print the date? It’s beyond me. or write the product’s barcode number down on your rebate form. you'll have proof of mailing it in. That gives you positive proof that you mailed it 73 . they lose their rebate – and that is what the drug store chains are counting on. 6.
but if you're denied a $50 or greater rebate like I was. it becomes your word against theirs – and having a back-up plan can help settle the dispute in your favor. 8. Proving this would be difficult. then pay any remaining balance with cash. but only mail out checks to a small portion of the consumers. which saves the rebate company a lot of cash. Some companies intentionally do not mail rebate checks unless the consumer calls to complain. 9. it's good money management. so you're actually getting more free stuff without spending any actual cash… 10. use it first when making purchases at the store. Some stores use a magnetic stripe gift card to provide rebate funds. and a welltimed call to a 1-800-number can often get you quick service on your rebate request. and simply turned my photocopies in to their regional managers. 74 The downside of rebate clubs is that your cash is tied up for 30 to 60 . The store managers have always made good on the rebate offers. and you can't turn it in for cash. It's a handy way to get a little extra cash back. it's a huge kick to buy the next month's freebies with a gift card. Using my photocopies. Don't be afraid to call the rebate company if they're late mailing you a check. I've gone to the store manager and pointed out that I did everything I was asked to. If your store puts your rebate amount on a gift card. one major chain offers you a 10% 'bump' in your rebate total if you'll allow them to post the rebate amount to your rechargeable gift card. USE THE STORE'S GIFT CARD PLAN. USE YOUR GIFT CARD'S STORED VALUE FIRST. BUG 'EM IF THEY'RE LATE. It may seem trivial. Plus. They're counting on a large number of respondents simply forgetting about it. Plus. CASH SECOND. but that's not my concern: I just want what's coming to me. This may seem like a lot of work. You don't earn interest by keeping the value on the card. And I wouldn't be shocked if the third party processing companies turn in 100% of the rebate requests to the retailer.within the proper timeframe. but on more than one occasion I have had a rebate processing company deny my rebate claiming that I violated rule X. rather than have them issue you a check. So always use the credit before using real cash. It's cheaper for them than issuing checks.
presenting a second coupon for a single item will cause the cash register to error out.00 off on three brand-name products! There are several things you should be aware of. Alarms will go off. when the rebate check arrives. "Save even more with manufacturer coupons found in today's paper.00 off. If you are really cash-strapped.00 off coupon on one brand of shampoo.days while your rebate form is being processed.00 store coupon issued by the retailer. Well-Hidden Drug Store Shopping Secret. the secret 'coupon police' in dark suits with sunglasses will come rushing in. (No big deal here. You only have to do this once. Then. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. I would suggest putting the purchases on a credit card. So I could easily get a total of $8. however: • No Doubling. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all the rebates that are available. The Most Amazing. then. deposit it and IMMEDIATELY write a check in the exact amount to your credit card company. You can use the rebate amount to purchase the next month's rebate items. but you get the point: double-coupon presentment is fraud.00 off coupons on several others." In checking the other coupons. The headline read. Another secret about shopping at the big-box drug stores that you may never have heard of is the availability of multiple coupon redemption. Why is it. that may be a little bit exaggerated. Sorry – there is no way around this one. and the stores don't like it and won't accept it. that some drug stores not only accept it but ENCOURAGE it? It's true! A recent flyer in my Sunday newspaper showed a $3. Well. I found a $2. and $1. good on a select manufacturer's brand of soaps and shampoos: buy any 3 and get $3. if you do it right. because stores in my area only double up to 50¢ – one up to 99¢ – and these coupons were all above that value.) 75 . Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. and you'll be pinned to the floor with an AK47 pointed at your forehead. Most drug stores do NOT double coupons like the grocery stores do. In most grocery stores.
00 on a total purchase price of $14 for three items is a bargain among bargains – you end up paying $2. And if you have teenagers in the family whose entire world revolves around hair volume. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. BIG IDEA 63: Some drug store chains will let you redeem both STORE coupons and MANUFACTURER coupons for the same item. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. When the drug store puts out savings like this. Saving $8. All that said. the savings are still well worth the effort of claiming them.00 per item for premium products – in this case hair care items.000 a year on drug store supplies! BIG IDEA 62: Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. bounce and shine – getting premium products makes all the difference in the world. this one technique alone could save you over $1. If you visit 3 stores a month. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. at the same time. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all of the rebates that are available. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 10 BIG IDEA 61: Visit all of the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. It gives you a double-whammy of savings and often makes it possible for you to buy the super-premium brands at a price that is less than the 'bargain' no-name products! 76 .800 a year.• No Price Reductions. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. the items are usually priced at full retail value – so you're starting from the highest price-point possible. however. even if you don't normally shop there.
Another key thing to watch is the quantity per individual item that is allowed.) There may be a date limit to your purchase. Okay. But instead of just giving the fine print a cursory glance. A typical example is "$5 cash back when you buy 10 of your favorites!" The ad will show a photo of the items you have to buy to get the rebate. and understand it BEFORE you shop – or you could be off the rebate money. 1. but the photo may show a certain flavor or packaging style of that product. They may require a certain size / flavor / packaging of the product (12 oz.50 per item purchased. Here are some of the 'secrets' of gaining the best value with a rebate. the offer may require that you mail in the original coupon and not use a photocopy or printout off a rebate website. LOOK AT THE PHOTO. using the 'buy 10' offer as an example. bottles of Fizzy-Soda. READ THE FINE PRINT. so this one is obvious. The fine print may say that the offer is good on a particular brand of product.Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT OR BRAND REBATES: Are they worth the effort? YES!!! One way that manufacturers attempt to boost the sales of their entire product line is to offer a cash back deal when you buy a certain number of their products. cans of Fizzy-Soda may not qualify if the coupon specifically requires that you buy 16 oz. 2. Remember that this offer gives you back $0. you can buy up to two of any particular item – any more of that item will not count towards the ten-item minimum. assume that their 77 . so be sure you follow them so you'll actually get the rebate check in the mail rather than a "we're sorry" notice. so you can't use last week's receipt if the starting date is from this week's newspaper. Unless the fine print specifically says that all sizes and flavors qualify. Also. read it. In this case. The offer may require that you send in the original cash register receipt for each of the 10 items. minus the cost of the envelope and stamp to mail it back in. circling each of the ten on the receipt. As always – there are details and conditions you have to know.
The soup line is already heavily couponed.70 (35¢ coupon) $1. kids' fruit snacks.39 $0. 2) $0.00 (50¢ coupon) $0.59 $0.30) $0.50 $0.39 Frozen Waffle Sticks $3.78 $0.39 $11.00) .70 (35¢ coupon) $1.50 $1. In one example.09 $1.99 $1.89 Can Green Beans $1.49 $19.70 (35¢ coupon) $0.89 $2. meal helper mixes – mostly the highest-priced items in the offer. Other products are listed in the fine print as qualifying for the offer. meaning you can find coupons for these items every day in numerous places.09 $3. the photo shows the higher-priced items – kids-size yogurt tubes. c.50 $0.39 $1. While the name brand canned vegetables are typically more expensive than the store brands.49 Biscuits in a Tube $1. your mission should be to purchase the 10 lowest-price items that will qualify for the offer.08 $3.99 'Helper' Meal Mix $2.49 $2.50 $0. plus they have many lower cost items like refried beans which are often priced at less than $1.59 Yogurt in a Tube $3. but they're not shown in the photo.intention is that you buy the one shown in the photo.99 $1. 3. and use coupons when purchasing as many of the 10 items as possible.80 (40¢ coupon) $0.01) $0. The Mexican food line is also heavily couponed. A little detective work can often greatly increase the value you get from the rebate.59 Croissants in a Tube $1.50 $0.30) $0. Here's why: a.30 TOTAL SAVINGS $0 78 $1.00 (qty.50 $0.00 per can.89 $3. To get the maximum value for your effort.10 (55¢ coupon) $1. See if you can guess why these items weren't shown: soup.78 Quantity 2 ($0.39 $1.89 each) Frozen Carrots $1. b.09 $2.59 Baking Mix $3.10 (55¢ coupon) $1. LOOK AT WHAT'S NOT IN THE PHOTO.00 ($13. yogurt drinks.10 (55¢ coupon) $0. canned vegetables and their entire line of Mexican food products.29 ($0. and you can also find coupons for them from time to time. Here's why: Item Cost Retail Price Savings With Doubled Coupons Rebate Amount On This Item Net Cost of Item After Rebate AND Coupons Net Cost of Item After Rebate Only (No Coupons) Cereal A $3.30 ($5.99 FINAL COST $24.10 (55¢ coupon) ($8.50 - $2. they're also on sale quite frequently.50 $0.
$20 or $30 a month on groceries. But if you use the coupons in combination with the rebate. 79 . But if you DO make the effort. the rebate was a good deal to begin with – by itself it saved you almost 26% on the groceries. The manufacturers are counting on you NOT to make the effort. It doesn't sound like much. due to all of the paperwork you have to complete.As you can see. you'll save over 45% on the same groceries! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 11 BIG IDEA 64: There’s no doubt about it: mail-in rebates are a real pain in the neck. but this one technique can generate $100 to $300 per year in savings: it's like getting your groceries FREE for 1 or 2 weeks out of the year. you can save an extra $10.
We're talking about flour.500 per year after taxes. Assuming that the Jones family eats every breakfast and dinner at home. This margin of profitability determines how much PROFIT the restaurant will make at the end of the day. This gives them a total spending allotment of $600 per month. Restaurants must maintain their budgets and a high level of profit margin. they can spend a total of $150 per week at the grocery store. This is the primary reason that chefs look for the lowest-cost provider of the CORE ingredients they use in their restaurant.Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Grocery Selections = Operating Margin In the restaurant business – as in any business – the difference between the COST OF THE INGREDIENTS and the SALE PRICE of the prepared food item is called the MARGIN. The Jones family earns a salary of $36. Your home budget has a MARGIN as well. Learning how to control your margin can make a huge difference in how well your family lives.43 per day on meals. and 'brown bags' their lunches. dairy products. spices. or a total of $21. – items they use each and every day. For an example. for an even average take-home amount of $100 per day. 81 . (Note that this is DIFFERENT from the FEATURED ingredients or SPECIALTY items). if they are to remain viable and profitable. Here's how this $100 per day is spent: Mortgage: 35% Utilities: 10% Home Maintenance: 5% Insurance / Health Care: 10% Clothing / Personal: 10% Auto: 5% Savings / Retirement: 5% Food / Entertainment: 20% TOTAL: 100% This family's budget for food and entertainment is $20 per day. etc. let's look at a fictitious family.
the business will fail. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. the family budget will fail and the family will eventually declare bankruptcy or lean on parents or other relatives to bail them out financially. This is why it is important to stretch your family budget as much as possible. or reduce in one of the other areas. the MARGIN determines whether the establishment will show a profit at the end of the month or not. If the restaurant consistently fails to create a margin of profit. If the restaurant doesn't show a profit. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within – or below – your budgetary margin consistently. the owner doesn't get a paycheck.43 per day. or whether they will need to take money away from the other budgeted items to meet their grocery bill.The MARGIN for the Jones family is whether they can actually feed their family on $21. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within or below your budgetary margin consistently. the family must do without new clothing. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. month after month. month after month. So let's take a look at smart choices you can make to get the absolute most out of your grocery dollar. If the family's total expenditure consistently outstrips their income. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 12 BIG IDEA 65: Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates his or her kitchen: as a business. 82 . Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. and why the choices you make at the grocery store CAN and WILL impact all areas of your family's life. reduce or eliminate their savings. At the Jones household. the area that must give way is the owner's paycheck. cancel their insurance. Often. Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates their kitchen: as a business. At a restaurant. if the food expenditure exceeds the budgeted 20%.
If you typically buy a small jar of peanut butter every two weeks. consider buying the big jar every 4 weeks. and/or kids in school. Mom needs a break too. That's all. I'm not a doctor. let alone tackle a return to an allnatural lifestyle. It doesn't fit too well with modern life. I don't advocate going 'back to your roots' and only buying raw materials. let's leave it at that. and frankly I don't care what foods you choose to buy or eat. Most of us are lucky to find a halfhour to ourselves every other day. If you want to change your diet. Get larger sizes of items. What I hope to do here is give you some ideas on how to enjoy the foods you want to eat. This same rule of thumb applies to hundreds of everyday grocery items. while paying less for them. Many writers have covered that territory. some eggs. There are three major ways to cut your grocery bill. as long as you and your family can consume them before they expire or lose their freshness. You may be in the habit of buying the smallest item because you want the least-expensive item.Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Let me start by saying that I'm not preaching here. you know. go see your doctor. telling you that you only need to buy a sack of flour. Another thing I'm not advocating is a change in your diet. totally apart from using coupons or obtaining store discounts. 83 . but only costs about 40% to 50% more. get some professional advice. That's nice if your cup of tea is cooking everything from scratch and tending a garden for two or three hours a day. milk and a few ingredients and grow everything else in your backyard. but by selecting the smallest package you are probably paying more per ounce than if you bought the bigger package. That approach simply doesn't work if you have a fulltime job. They are: • BUY BIG. The big jar typically contains twice as much. household supplies and personal care items. a social life. Most of us need or justifiably want the conveniences of prepared foods to reduce our time in the kitchen. that's fine. and put a plan in place.
invest in additional units of items when they are at their lowest cost. you may not use any of the following core ingredients in your food selections. when you consider the cost of eating the same type of meal at a restaurant. • BUY BASIC. Buy the core ingredients of recipes. How? Let's look at the core ingredients. beef. Currently. but for most families they are already a core part of their diet – often without consciously selecting them: • Potatoes • Onions • Carrots • Tomatoes • Mixed Vegetables – Seasonal • Rice • Pasta • Meats: chicken. Grits. Find the logical middle ground that works for you and your schedule. But it's not the best you can do price-wise. Sweet Potatoes. As long as you will eventually consume the item. if it's available now at half the cost or below. rather than preassembled mixtures of core ingredients. rice and sauce. There is a middle ground between buying a prepared baking mixture and growing your own wheat. and cooking the same meal from scratch could cost you less than half this much. bag of food is an appetizer…) That's not too bad.00 to $6. as long as the items are not highly perishable or they have a fairly decent shelf life. But buy the primary ingredients of recipes rather than the put-together final products. and will sort of feed the average four-person family adequately. Select according to your taste & dietary preferences. A frozen dinner mixture may contain bite-size nuggets of chicken. A bag of this mixture probably costs about $5. Put two or three of the item on your back shelf.• MAKE TIMELY BUYS. stock up & save. • Alternative Core Ingredients: Tofu. 84 .00. plus chopped broccoli. Bulgar Wheat. (unless you have teenagers and a 5 lb. even if you won't need them for six months or a year. Stock up when items are on sale. pork. etc. Let's use a frozen all-in-one dinner mix as an example. Again.
1/4 cup of soy sauce . it's an okay meal. The cost difference between frozen / boxed / dehydrated vegetables and fresh vegetables is not always huge. and that's what dinnertime is all about. because they were cooked a few months ago and frozen. Are All Mixes Bad? Of Course Not! Now. In some cases.Various spices in minute amounts . the garlic isn't really zingy. color and smell of a fresh-cooked meal – that's the difference between simply eating and eating well.The pre-blended mixture contains roughly the following ingredients: . cook on low for about 10 minutes. The broccoli and carrots are kind of mushy. But just be aware that you are paying a price for this convenience. The vast majority of these pre-mixed food items are very high in quality. So overall. cooked and frozen a long time ago. and you can save a lot of time and effort by using them. . isn't it? PERISH THE THOUGHT! Dinnertime should be about enjoying your food. But in combination with all of the other elements that go into a meal. savoring the taste. either.One or two garlic cloves. the fresh vegetables can actually be higher. had to mention this…) Sounds like a lot.One or two cooked carrots. but nothing to rave about. sliced . except there's usually not as much chicken as you would like.One to one and a half chicken breasts cut in pieces. because it was chopped. starting from core ingredients will almost always be less expensive. It's sustenance. and they're not idiots. and it's ready to serve. chopped .Various preservatives and chemicals (sorry. am I saying that ALL pre-mixed dinners or boxes of pre-cooked side dishes are bad? NO – of course not! The food companies are not bad people. 85 . cooked broccoli . And.Two or three cups of chopped. The quality of the food is reasonably acceptable. doesn't it? You dump the contents of the bag into a saucepan.Two or three cups of cooked rice .
many. you can reduce your total cost of food. or the items you buy are very perishable. resulting in better quality for less money. For example. the smaller the package – the greater the cost per ounce / pound. IF you were starting from scratch. you can go back to the core ingredients and replicate these mixes with fresh ingredients. All I'm suggesting here is that you buy them when they're on sale. or you eat like a church mouse. when you buy pre-mixed / preseasoned / prepared meals.Variety – and Pre-Mixed Foods – Can Be A GOOD Thing! Some pre-mixed or prepared foods allow you to enjoy items you would rarely cook from scratch – if ever. it's made of bread and spices. But for everyone / everything else. 86 . The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. would you make fresh stuffing if you had to start with the bread and spices and mix it all yourself? Probably not. so they'll be on hand when you need them. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 13 BIG IDEA 66: By using core ingredients to prepare your family's meals. so it's just about the same thing YOU would make. If you are cooking for one. and you have a coupon for them. Is it bad stuff? Well. it's actually pretty darned good stuff! The moral of this story: many. BIG IDEA 67: Generally speaking. So no – it's NOT bad stuff. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. Develop a set of time-saving recipes that use core ingredients. Pre-packaged meals can cost up to 5 times as much as the same meal prepared from scratch. the lower the cost per serving. And in many cases. Stock up on them when the pricing is right. the bigger the package. buying small makes sense. many of these pre-mixed food products are very good. and they can save you a lot of time. you can have fresh stuffing in about 5 or 10 minutes. and you can easily cut your food costs in HALF. Just remember this: in most cases. the more you will lower your cost of food. But with a box of ready-to-go stuffing mix. WHICH you wouldn't ever do.
The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation.BIG IDEA 68: When you see a bargain. grab 2 or 3 and stash them away for future use. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. but you'll be saving a lot of cash down the road. BIG IDEA 69: Whenever you buy pre-mixed / pre-seasoned / prepared meals. If it's a non-perishable item. You'll be investing a little cash now. grab it. the more you will lower your cost of food. 87 .
and delicious. but you can't improve on the pure nutrition that is built into the spud. they're tremendous in a million different ways. A few minor enhancements can do wonders. you might add a little butter or tiny touch of brown sugar. there are exceptions to every rule. but overall it's incredibly packed with flavor – right out of the ground. A little enhancement can make a world of difference. simple is best: the basic flavor of the core ingredients is pure. With the majority of foods. It's hard to top perfection. Example: a tomato. Add a touch of seasoning and they're on just about everyone's top-10 list. simple. But the next time you are in your favorite restaurant. 89 . and then count the dishes that have multiple core ingredients. of course. many middleeastern dishes revolve around grains. Tomatoes are so flavorpacked. scan down the menu and count the dishes that are based on one core ingredient. some dishes are more elaborate and require multiple base items. Don't get me started. Cook them. Granted.001 things with a potato. Real Cooking Let me be frank here: cooking is actually very. You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. sauté them – you can do a 1. many Chinese and Japanese dishes revolve around rice. and it's wonderful on the palate. You will be amazed at how simple the vast majority of dishes really are. but deep down basic food is pretty darn good to begin with! Example: a carrot. Of course. fry them. They are wonderfully complex yet simple at the same time. Yes. It rarely needs any improvement. Cook it until tender. and many Indian and southern Asian dishes revolve around a vegetable base. many Irish dishes revolve around potatoes. Many Italian dishes revolve around pasta. very simple. Example: a potato. whip them. The greatest chefs in the world all cook the same way: they start with a core ingredient at the base and then they add something to it to make it unique.Chapter 14: Real Food.
In reality. And yes. If you can change your mindset about core ingredients and what it MEANS to cook. if you approach it correctly. Serve with your choice of toppings (cheese. 90 . Poke holes in it with a fork. etc. (And by the way. Add a few scoops of canned chunky chili. Top with cheese (I like mozzarella on mine). It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. BUYING THEIR MIX = SIMPLICITY and COMFORT. butter or butter substitute. why is it always the WIFE? We husbands cook. you'll discover that it simply doesn’t have to be that difficult. Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. Take a taco shell out of the package. let alone crack open the recipe book. too. BAKED POTATO. here are five dinners you can cook in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES (and actually less than 1 minute if you're fast…) 1. The food industry WANTS you to think that cooking is difficult. Serve with salsa. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. cooking from scratch (or at least using a few core ingredients) can be JUST AS EASY. Think of how many commercials you've seen where the wife heats up a ready-to-eat dish of pre-mixed stuff. and the end results are always perfect. Wash it off. Shake some sea salt on the outside. I have to use premade mixes. TACOS. Microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes. too!) They always show how the preparation takes just a minute or two. To make my point. I know you're thinking: "I'm too busy to cook. We're all too busy these days to even think about cooking. you have a valid point. I don't have time to cook". so you'll buy their pre-cooked meals.Okay. THIS IS BRAINWASHING. I want to change the way you think about cooking. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. Take a potato. If people knew how easy it is to cook from scratch – at a fraction of the price of buying their prepackaged meals – they wouldn't make as much money.) 2. and the family goes wild with glee at the wonderful taste and nutrition. sour cream or plain yogurt. PEOPLE! They are conditioning you to think that COOKING = HARD WORK and PAIN. bacon bits.
and it's very tasty. So vary your enhancements. drain. you can also buy a bag of frozen veggies and use just a tiny portion. The secret to innovative. most restaurant menu items are just a core ingredient with enhancements.) Sauté these with a little hot pepper oil until tender. and chop in a few chunks of butter (or butter substitute if you're watching your cholesterol. you can sauté these in a frying pan with a little hot pepper oil while the noodles are cooking. BUT – if you buy a bag of frozen Chinese vegetables and a bag of pre-cooked peeled shrimp. elbow.3. put 2 cups of the rice in a pot. You'll get new ones every week by email if you subscribe to my membership site located at www. whatever. To top it. but you only have to stir them once in a while. If you're constantly stretched for time. exciting cooking is to vary the sauces. bowties. they're the little "6 for $1" packages of noodles. When you need to make a quick lunch or dinner. 5. seasonings and styles of the additional items you add to your core ingredients. it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook. and heat on low for 5 minutes.grocerysavings. There are hundreds of these types of recipes out there. 91 . You heat 2 cups of water until boiling. put into a bowl. My kids love this one: boil up a box of noodles – any kind – such as ziti. You could also sauté some meat or seafood if you'd like. Sure. Toss them into the finished soup. and you've got a quick cheesy meal. toss in the noodles. As I mentioned above. 4. (For convenience. RAMEN NOODLES. and add that. add some pepper and salt. and you've got a spicy oriental soup that makes a very enjoyable dinner. It's quick – it's tasty – and you'll think you ordered take out. Not too exciting. When they're done. Feel free to share your favorites with friends. RICE WITH VEGGIES. You know what these are. ALFREDO A LA QUICKIE. maybe some squash and carrots. add a little water. cook a pot of rice on Sunday and keep it in the fridge all week long. it will be good as new.us. so it's very cheap as well. and they're ready in 3 minutes.) Shake some powdered parmesan or romano cheese on top. It's fast. then toss on top of the rice and add a little soy sauce. One bag will make about 5 or 6 dinners. chop up a tomato.
and you'll eat better. BIG IDEA 73: Cooking fast & delicious meals for yourself and your family should not be a chore. so you'll buy their over-priced pre-mixed dinners. If it is. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. and you'll keep your menu vibrant and inviting. BIG IDEA 71: The food industry wants to DISCOURAGE you from cooking.experiment. 92 . healthier food every day. too. try new things. you're doing it wrong! Do it right. But first – you have to become an expert at cooking the core ingredients. if you approach it correctly. BIG IDEA 72: Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. you can cut your food costs in half. you'll be saving LOTS of money. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 14 BIG IDEA 70: You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. easy-to-cook recipes that use CORE INGREDIENTS and that your family enjoys. It's hard to top perfection. If you start building a list of quick. Plus.
(HINT: boil a pot of water. and many just about do all the work for you. and they frequently give $5 and $10 rebates for buying them. (Have you seen those 'potato martinis' they serve in the fanciest restaurants? They're nothing more than mashed potatoes topped with sautéed meats and vegetables. you've got the basic foundation for about half a gazillion Chinese recipes.) • If you can peel & boil potatoes. Once you've got your own system down. the rest is a cakewalk. you can add countless varieties of toppings for a healthy. This doesn't have to be expensive. GOOD APPLIANCES CAN HELP. What a novel idea!) Once you determine how best to cook your core ingredients.Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings How to Develop a System for Cooking Core Ingredients. easy to remember. the rest – pun fully intended – is gravy. They can save you huge amounts of time in the kitchen. Set your timer to 10 minutes. If you're cooking-challenged. 93 . Heck. the rest of the cooking process is a breeze. So if you want to take control of your food budget and really cut your dependency on packaged meals.) • If you can learn to boil noodles. • If you can learn to make rice. If they're still too hard at 10 minutes. It's always double the water for a single unit of rice. two cups of water. cook 'em a few minutes more. I would suggest that you take an inventory of your appliances. this chapter will be critical to your success in weaning yourself from pre-packaged meals. Investing in a few basic items could really make your life easier. nutritious dinner. Easy. Get familiar with cooking core ingredients from scratch. Stir it once in a while. One cup of rice. We are so lucky today to have time-saving appliances available for every conceivable kitchen task. the local pharmacy sells appliances now. you can make Italian food with your hands tied. If you can really get the hang of cooking core ingredients. (HINT: nature made this recipe easy.
these scare the daylights out of most people. and they'll love you back all the more. FOOD PROCESSOR (or mini-processor if you're single or you've got a small family). and your meat will fall off the fork. and if the family won't eat what we cook – what good is it? So cook what your family loves. A good processor will cut your cooking time by half. It's our job to keep the family happy. And the bowl. It will make an ordinary meal extraordinary. kids just love rice. For some reason. Now. They’re also ideal for grating hard cheeses. cool for 30 minutes. RICE COOKER. water and salt / pepper in the pot. and in 15 minutes or so your rice is done perfectly. You dump your ingredients in. Plus. They shouldn't – because a pressure cooker can cut your cooking time by 50% or more – and they lock all the nutrients into your food. It will be the best chicken soup 94 . The same thing goes for carrots. It’s the ideal cooking helper. once the pressure weight is rocking cook it for 20 minutes. Peel an onion. And as a bonus – rice is still very reasonably priced. so there's not a lot of clean-up. stir it or tend to it in any way. plug it in. press the "chop" button. turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes.Listed below are some items that I couldn't live without. Plus. garlic. scallions.) They make excellent chicken soup (put a chicken. But hey. especially if you’ve got small kids to tend to. squash – basically any hard vegetable. They're great for stews (cook for 15 minutes. And let me share a secret that every fine Italian cook will tell you: buy a block of hard cheese and grate it in your mini-processor just before serving over your pasta. vegetables. and it's chopped in about 5 seconds. blades & cover all go right into the dishwasher. those of us on the front-line of the family-feeding war need all the help we can get. You don't need to watch it. some of you nutritional purists will shudder at some of these suggestions. a pressure cooker can make even the cheapest cuts of meat tender. cut it into 4 pieces and drop it in the processor. and save. Buy a huge bag. PRESSURE COOKER. One of the easiest things to cook is rice – and one of the best time-savers is to get a rice cooker.
Now.you've ever had. try this. Plus. and your veggies are ready to serve. try pressure-cooking in your household and you'll be a convert for life. and brown in the broiler for about 3 minutes. Make a pot of Japanese noodles – soba noodles are available in many import shops.) Get over the fear.) They can cut an hour or more out of the cooking time required for meats such as pork chops. Yes. it's a nutritional crime. Close the pressure cooker. if you want to reduce the amount of fried foods you serve but still add the flavor and appeal of fried foods to your menu. Just sear your chops in the pressure cooker in a little oil (adding garlic. The only difference: you've saved at least an hour of cooking time! They're ideal for cutting the time required to cook vegetables (cooks in 1 to 5 minutes after the pressure weight starts rocking. Serve over the soba noodles and soup and you've got a dynamic Japanese meal that the family will love. You just have to get over the 'guilt' factor and admit that most people love fried foods. what do you order when you're in a restaurant? Being able to cook restaurant-quality fried foods in your household can significantly reduce your food budget. cool the cooker immediately with cold water. They'll be fully-cooked. salt & pepper for flavor) for about 3 minutes on each side. It's not THAT bad for you from time to time… I bought a family-sized fryer at the drug store for $20 after rebate. cauliflower. Add 3/4 cup water. I like to remove them. top with bread crumbs. Chop up some vegetables – broccoli. DEEP FRYER. I know people want to live "healthy" and avoid fried foods. It's really a great appliance. and cook for about 10 minutes once the weight starts rocking. it makes them look more appetizing and more like oven-baked chops. carrots – and get some fresh peeled shrimp. But admit your vice and face your fears. turn up the heat. and deep fry the veggies and shrimp in the fryer. Heat up some chicken broth for the soup. Cool the cooker immediately and remove the chops. Yes. I can take a basic potato – probably costing about 25 cents or less – and create restaurant-quality fries in about 10 minutes. But what do the kids order every time you're in a restaurant? Heck. 95 . tender and ready-to-eat. Mix up some tempura batter.
96 . But it’s also ideal for dozens of other recipes as well. it will help you switch to a "fresh cooked" diet rather than a "frozen / reheated" diet – which can save you big bucks on your groceries. Spread the mixture all across your griddle and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. and the taste won’t even come close to that of the home-made recipe. cheaper – and more nutritious for your family. is to make pancakes.you've minimized the amount of fried foods you're serving. Oil your griddle lightly. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 15 BIG IDEA 74: Adding a few inexpensive appliances to your kitchen will make cooking easier. The frozen hash browns in your grocer’s freezer will cost about 3 times that amount. The result is a flavorful. Total cost for 8 servings: about 15¢ a serving. hearty breakfast or side dish. Plus.) Grate an onion as well. You see? A deep fryer is NOT the evil device you thought it was…! ELECTRIC GRIDDLE. Grate 3 or 4 potatoes in your food processor (SO much easier than grating by hand. Cut into 8 squares and flip each square and cook for another 10 minutes or so. and you don’t skin your knuckles. of course. This appliance is indispensable in my household. Mix it all together with salt & pepper. One of my favorites is hash brown potatoes. The #1 use.
I'm too busy to shop. – There's no time to cook. If your schedule is SO TIGHT that you absolutely could not find 5 minutes anywhere – and your life is literally on a stopwatch every minute of the day – you probably have a personal shopper and a personal chef.There's no time to cook. .My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. For everyone else. the recipes you use (or don't use). heat the glop and dish it up. consider the alternative answers. and the way you prepare your meals. Then. Plus. Again. you're going to find enough time to get out a pan. Now.Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. Healthier Meals Why do so few people cook fresh meals? Do you give any credibility to these common myths: . . You had enough time to buy the bag of premade stuff. . The reward will be meals that can be much tastier and probably a lot healthier for you and your family. I'm pretty sure you can find the five minutes! You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time it takes to heat up a pre-mixed meal. – I'm too busy to shop. and you 97 . Consider some minor alterations to the ingredients you buy. see if somewhere in your busy day you could find just 5 minutes to steal and re-apply to meal preparation.I hate to cook. you'll probably find 20 or 30 minutes to eat the meal. add the glop. didn't you? Consider that you could buy a variety of core ingredients – many of which are also found in the freezer section – with just a few extra minutes of shopping time. The moral of this story is this: you're already devoting a certain amount of time to meal preparation.
People eat bottled spaghetti sauce over pasta. "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. and if you do it right it won't take you a lot of extra time. and even the most die-hard mageirocophobiac (person with an intense fear of cooking) can become an efficient quick cooking expert and save money on food with a little patience. simple meals that your family will love. you CAN learn to cook quick fast. with almost no additional 98 . – My family wouldn't know the difference anyway.can save time. and lower your food costs. Take it one step at a time. To avoid cooking. It will make your meals extra special. This is a valid concern if you view cooking as a chore – which many people do. add a few pennies worth of spices. The reason many families are oblivious to the taste or quality of their food is that they've never experienced real cooking. because it's what they've always eaten. because it's all that they know. they don't expect anything better. in the interest of saving time. I call this QUICK COOKING. Look at the ingredients of the sauce: it's full of modified food starch. But I'd like to propose an alternative to cooking. and make a much more satisfying and healthy meal. which is nothing more than a filler and it's aptly named. The one and only ingredient in the can of tomatoes is TOMATOES. though. Don't you think that might be healthier than a ton of food starch and preservatives? YES! Do you think you might feel better by eating allnatural ingredients? YES! The proof is in the pudding (or pasta. – I hate to cook. It FILLS you up but is it good for you? You can buy a can of crushed tomatoes for less than the can of prepared sauce. many people simply DUMP bags or cans of glop into saucepans and heat it up. A lot of people choose DUMPING over COOKING. Your family WILL notice the difference and chances are they'll thank you for the improvement. even if you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. You might be surprised on this one. What if you could just dump DIFFERENT bags or cans of stuff into the same pot. in this case). They eat what they're given. and enjoy it a whole lot more. Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. enjoy better meals.
To these they add a variety of topping or add-ins to create the final meal that you eat. etc.dry Potatoes . You're just being more selective in what you're putting into the pan. frozen Prepared spaghetti sauce Frozen or canned vegetables Tiny amounts of chicken found in prepared dinners Canned noodle dinners or pasta mix meals Tiny packets of partially-cooked dried oatmeal Baked loaves of bread Frozen. frozen or tube biscuit dough. and the high-priced alternatives they replace. The chef (or food manager. frozen waffles Cans or jars of sauce. or packets of dry gravy mix Frozen Mexican food dinners Vegetable soup in the can 99 . beans. starts with a core ingredient or multiple core ingredients. pull out a pan.fresh potato wedges. skinless chicken breasts Pasta . With just a few minutes of planning. etc. Here are some of the core ingredients that you can buy at the source as fresh ingredients. canned beans "Closeout" fresh vegetables (items that the store must sell today or throw away) HIGH-PRICED PREPARED ITEM Pre-cooked rice in frozen dinners Frozen French fries.canned Fresh broccoli.investment of your time. rip open a bag. prepared meals with tiny portions Pre-baked biscuits. turn on the stove. For the sake of this discussion. any fresh vegetable Boneless. cheese. poultry and fish Baking Mix Homemade sauces & gravies Fresh tortillas. you can make TREMENDOUS changes in the cost of your meals as well as your family's satisfaction with them. carrots. Insider Secret: You're Already Buying Core Ingredients – But Not At Their Source! As previously mentioned. delicious recipes. and how you're doing it. you can follow these tips and start cooking and eating better and cheaper. how do we handle this "QUICK COOKING" without a lot of work and clean up? Let's look at a few core meal ingredients and how you can use them to create dozens of exciting. uncooked Bread flour Fresh meats. dry potato flakes. a vegan or a Venutian. Tomatoes . You end up taking the same basic steps you do now: open a can.uncooked Oatmeal . in the case of packaged foods). Okay. LOW-COST CORE INGREDIENT Rice . whatever you choose to cook. it doesn't matter if you're a meat-eater or a vegetarian. most cuisines – from the most basic to the most exotic – are variations on a theme.large drum.
The best way for YOU to cook. The way you plan your menus. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 16 BIG IDEA 75: Regardless of how little or how much time you have to shop. even if 100 . BIG IDEA 76: You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time as heating up a pre-mixed meal.The secret to feeding your family well – with tasty and enticing food on a bargain-basement budget. store. Think of food ingredients the way the chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals.e. and you will save tremendous amounts of money. • FLEXIBILITY to mix and match the ingredients that you can buy economically. having them accessible. • TECHNIQUE to quickly prepare and cook your meals using some core sauces. seasonings and styles that are appropriate for your family's eating habits. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. let's look at: a. train yourself to select CORE INGREDIENTS rather than pre-mixed meals. The way you buy these items. with no time to cook and no time to shop – is in three key steps: • AVAILABILITY of economical core ingredients. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. and you can save time – enjoy better meals – and lower your food costs. c. BIG IDEA 77: Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. what's cheapest / freshest). To get a handle on how remarkably simple these three steps can be. and serve nutritious meals your family will actually eat. (more about this later). b. Determine what you have to work with first (i.
Determine what you have to work with first (i. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. BIG IDEA 79: Think of food ingredients the way the fine chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. BIG IDEA 78: "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. with almost no additional investment of your time. you CAN learn to quick fast. what's cheapest / freshest).e.you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. simple meals that your family will love. 101 .
because they are being harvested now – not six months ago. tonight's special will be flounder. If the chef 's special sounds appealing and it costs a few dollars less than the other items. and they'll tell you that it depends on what is in season. That's because those items are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. Great chefs plan their menu when they go to the market. If shrimp is on sale. The fastest way is with a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. Surely. If flounder is in abundance at the fish market and the price is lower than that of the other fish. Nature came up with a very easy 103 . RICE Rice can be made from 'scratch' very easily. How to Cook Delicious. it's often because the item is in season – and hence is very fresh and is available in large quantities. Think of your own dining experiences. or the wholesale meat market. But that doesn't mean people will pay. don't you sometimes choose the special? Another reason to choose the chef 's special is abundance. then enhanced with additional ingredients to create unique meals.Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus How to choose value ingredients to make luxury meals. Do you know how the world's greatest chefs decide their menus? Ask any chef what they will be cooking tonight. the fresh seafood market. If the flounder is fresh and the other choices start out frozen. You may wonder why the chefs use this method. tonight's special will be shrimp. which do you think will taste better? CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. When an item is in abundance. Nutritious Meals With Your Core Items Let's review how a variety of core ingredients can be prepared. It may be the farmer's market. they can charge whatever they'd like for the items in the restaurant? Well. technically they can.
in a matter of minutes.) Oatmeal is one of the only foods that actually cooks better in a microwave than it does on the stove. simply heat some oil in a frying pan then add your rice and cook until slightly browned. lightly beat one or two eggs in a bowl (but not so much that bubbles form). you'll be amazed at how smooth and creamy it comes out! For one serving. add to the rice mixture and flip after a minute or so. Microwave for about 3 minutes. sashimi (imitation crab). mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup of water or milk.e. For egg fu yung. Continue microwaving for 1 minute at a time until done. soy sauce. and vegetables. Recipes. Add a splash of teriyaki. Some simple ideas are to add pre-cooked chicken.recipe for rice: 1 part rice. i. See? Cooking can be easy and fun! OATMEAL Oatmeal has the same simple recipe. but it's usually best just to cook plain white rice. nothing could be simpler. then stir and cover with a plate to prevent splashing. chicken bouillon. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. Try it. just add a little water. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. consider making a large pot of rice on Monday and using it in your recipes throughout the week. try freezing your rice in small plastic containers. Worcestershire sauce. then add your other ingredients. To reheat. You can 'nuke' rice back to health in your microwave. you travel a lot and can't leave fresh food in the refrigerator. huh? You may want to add a dash of sea salt. Just store the leftover rice in a plastic storage bowl. cover and heat. For fried rice. barbecue sauce or any other ingredients you like. Sounds pretty easy. 2 parts water. saffron or other spices. 104 . beef. and be ready to reheat them quickly for individual meals. Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. If your meals are more infrequent. Let it steam for a few minutes. if you like it richer. For families on the go. 2 parts water (or milk. There are countless ways to make tasty meals with rice. straight from nature: 1 part oatmeal.
cooked broccoli. chopped scallions. Recipes: Again. etc. Then. You can boil. If you're careful about what you put on them. Add a little cheese. That works out to about 25 cents per potato – one of the cheapest. especially at the start of a strenuous work day where you'll need extra energy. Potatoes are an excellent addition to a hearty breakfast.POTATOES There are countless ways to cook with potatoes. boiled & quartered with butter or chicken broth. and they learned many different recipes to add variety.50 for a 5-lb. and tasty. for variety. etc. sour cream. just get a good cookbook (at a yard sale or thrift store.00 or $2. I suggest using the imitation butter spray and / or powdered and flavored 'butter buds' that are available today. just peel and boil your potatoes until fully cooked. Here are a few ideas. Or. they can be a healthy choice too. bag. to make a tasty meal. hot sauce. the possibilities for using potatoes in recipes are endless. by meal: Breakfast: Chop your cooked potatoes and fry them in butter to make tasty hash browns. These additives have 105 . The thing to bear in mind is that you can often find potatoes on sale for $2. Use them as a 'base' with stew or sautéed veggies on top. To prepare a base supply of potatoes early in the week. Top with chili and cheese or canned meat to make a filling quick meal. so only cook what you can use fairly soon.. Dinner: Serve them baked. store then in a plastic storage bowl until you need them. bake. Again. Families existed on potatoes during the potato famine in Ireland. slice your potatoes and fry in butter to make home fries. They're fat free. bacon bits. Lunch: Poke some holes in an unpeeled potato and microwave it for about 5 minutes. mashed. full of fiber. of course…). etc. and you've got a delicious baked potato that can serve as your main course. most nutritious foods in the grocery store. microwave or fry potatoes in many different ways. Add cheese. consult a recipe book and you'll be amazed at the uses for potatoes. They'll only keep for a few days..
I like to sauté a little chopped garlic in olive oil. and can make a baked potato seem almost decadent even as this filling and flavorful meal actually helps you lose weight! A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. Plus. Recipes: Get a cookbook to see any of the thousands of possibilities for tomatoes. You're eliminating all of the additives. In the south. Here are a few of my favorites: Breakfast. Dinner: One of the easiest and fastest ways to make spaghetti sauce is to use a can of chopped or whole tomatoes. vegetarian cooking. fried green tomatoes are also a delicacy. more food volume. The Irish knew this centuries ago. and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour on top of cooked pasta and you have a great Italian dish. TOMATOES Why single out tomatoes as an ingredient? I'm also singling them out because they're the staple ingredient in Italian cooking. and many ethnic foods from around the world. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. Yes. fast alternative to fresh tomatoes – especially when you don't have time to shop. Try a home-made Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich (BLT). In the summer. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. cans of tomatoes are typically a lot cheaper 106 . or you're frequently on the road and fresh tomatoes just go bad on the shelf. Slice them and add to a ham or turkey sandwich. starches and fillers that are common in the jars of sauce that most people use. nothing is better than a fresh-picked tomato! Lunch. Chop them up and add them to an omelet or just eat a raw tomato with a little salt. They're easy to grow and relatively cheap to buy – especially the canned variety.almost no fat or calories. add the tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. Ever had a sliced tomato on the plate with your bacon & eggs? They're delicious anyway but you can add either salt or sugar for even more flavor. But for busy people they can be an excellent. I know – you purists are saying you'd never eat a tomato out of a can.
There are hundreds if not thousands of varieties of tomatoes available. and your family will begin to eat healthier. Do you know the easiest way to cook fresh broccoli? Wash it off. and other serious diseases. They're also probably one of the most misunderstood of foods. I find that the less you cook tomatoes the better. And guess what: this same approach works for asparagus. and many of these small-batch tomatoes – while not commercially feasible to grow – are loaded in flavor. then cook on high for about 4 or 5 minutes. beets. and you'll probably pay less. the lighter the seasoning the better.than the jars of sauce. cover with plastic wrap. the more taste it will have. potatoes. "Man – who don't like spaghetti?" Tomatoes are packed with tons of nutrients and they have great natural flavor. feel better. VEGETABLES Fresh veggies are probably the healthiest. and enjoy meals more. Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that are not currently in massproduction. strap a rubber band around the dish. The total time expenditure is about the same but buy the broccoli on sale. carrots. So many people would rather rip open a bag of frozen broccoli than deal with stalks of fresh broccoli – presumably because they 'want to save time'. To quote Rodney Dangerfield. a powerful antioxidant that may help your body’s natural defenses prevent cancer. tastiest items you can buy in a store. put the dish in a microwave. Another tip: if you’re ever at a farmer’s market and you find heirloom tomatoes. unique taste and nutrients. and the sooner you cook the tomato after picking from the vine. add a little water. fast cook as described above. put it in a glass or Pyrex dish. They’re one of nature’s best sources of lycopene. Here are some tips to win over the anti-veggie contingent in your household: 107 . almost every vegetable out there… Buy whatever veggies are on sale. heart disease. You'll have perfectly steamed fresh broccoli that I GUARANTEE you will taste ten times better than the frozen stuff. You can make hundreds of recipes using tomatoes as your base. buy them.
Of course.Wash / peel / chop the veggies. This is the 'zero calorie' spray that you find in the butter section. .Tip 2: look for these in the discount spice rack at your neighborhood drug store. • Use plain yogurt and butter spray on baked potatoes. If you don't like this. try the powdered butter substitute found in the spice section of your grocery. you can always use regular butter or margarine. . I know the sprinkles are 100% refined sugar. Okay. the bacon bits are a bargain. whereas the name-brand items can be $2-$3 at the grocery store. but if you have kids you know that they go absolutely crazy for them and they're a big hit at birthday parties). (Yes. . back to veggies… • Buy close-out veggies when they are available at your store and make a healthy soup or stew out of them. nuke them in a small dish with a little water.Tip 3: Look for coupons for the spices in your Sunday paper. you really don't have to add a lot more for most dishes). Even if you've avoided these low-fat products because they don't taste as good or work as well as butter on sandwiches or toast. Mother Nature put an immense amount of flavor and subtle tastes into veggies to begin with. but this will add useless calories and fat – especially the bad 'trans fats' – with little taste benefit. One major national drug store chain frequently issues coupons for spices at 3/$1. Normally. they're only 99¢ at the drug store.• Spray some fat-free butter on the veggies before you nuke them.Put into a big pot. buy some of the dried bacon bits to sprinkle on as well. .Tip 1: if the bacon bits are too hard on your teeth. 108 . especially when they're 3/$1. (Hint: less is more when it comes to spicing up a veggie dish. try them on veggies and you will be pleasantly surprised. as appropriate. The recipe is extremely simple: . as are the chocolate and rainbow ice-cream sprinkles. with some water and simple spices. You won't be weighed down with all of the fat of sour cream and butter but the potato will taste great. If you're a bacon lover. While most of their spices are about 95% salt.
If you happen to find a LOT of veggies on sale. then add some flour and spices to form a paste. sour cream. etc. or it will turn to lumps and clumps of dough and powder.) • For meat dishes. margarine. • For a cream sauce. you can buy full-price fresh veggies. or freezing some for later. add some white or red wine to the dish. add fresh or canned tomatoes prior to cooking. mix a little flour or corn starch with water in a cup. Be sure all of the flour is dissolved into solution BEFORE you add the mixture to the broth. (Hint: do not add the flour directly to the mix. to boot! • For a red sauce / French-style dish. To reheat. add a little milk. it just looks better when it's pre-seared. sour cream or plain yogurt near the end of the cooking cycle. and in most cases that is all you'll find available.Cook for about a half hour (or about 5 minutes if using a pressure cooker. and stir the mixture into the broth slowly. Also. and taste just as good – and sometimes better – than the first time around. Of course. simply pop the giant ice cube of soup into a pot and heat slowly for 10 or 15 minutes. The best time to do this is before you cook the food. Frozen soup or stew will keep for months.) . You can freeze soup in leftover plastic containers from yogurt. SLOWLY add 109 .Serve and enjoy. it's advisable to pre-sear the meat in a little olive or vegetable oil first. Example: make some 'roux' in the pot before you start cooking the veggies or veggie / meat combo. The meat can cook along with the veggies (allow extra time). A good recipe is to sauté some onions in butter until soft. but if you have cubed beef. you can feed your family like royalty for less than $5 – and often enjoy 2 or 3 meals out of it. To thicken.. pork or lamb. If you have a breadmaker machine and make a loaf of homemade bread for about 50¢. • For a little European flair. consider making a big pot of soup or stew and serving it all week long. drizzle the mixture into the broth very slowly and keep stirring or the flour mixture can still turn into dough. But there is a special reward in making a giant pot of delectable fresh vegetable soup for $2 or $3.
cook some noodles separately and serve the soup over the noodles. You can also make a paste out of flour. • To stretch your soup / stew. There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked in hundreds of different ways. and make excellent dumplings right in the soup. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet.your wine to de-glaze the pan (all this means is that you loosen the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan and scrape everything into a consistent sauce). if 110 . milk or yogurt to make a cream sauce out of your broth. I'll find the small blocks of cheese on sale for about $1. Many Hungarian dishes such as goulash and Chicken Paprikash follow this process. water. 'Recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. Often. This roux / wine combination will thicken your sauce and add some very intricate and interesting flavors. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces.00. rather than buying pre-grated cheese. Here are some tools and techniques: Cheese: Buy blocks of cheese and grate them at home. and are among the tastiest meals you will ever eat. make a roux as described above and then when the dish is complete add sour cream. The same amount by weight of grated cheese will often be $1. • For a totally mind-blowing culinary sensation. salt and a little baking powder. just prior to serving. DAIRY Dairy is one area in which it can be difficult to cut costs – difficult but not impossible. You'll find that you can make some GREAT international dishes in no time at all if you learn a few basics such as this.99 or more – literally double the price! Granted. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family is endless. Consult any good cookbook to find out which spices to use with which veggies or veggie / meat combination. and excite your family's taste buds. You can make excellent fresh noodles using nothing more than flour and salt. or just buy pre-made noodles if you're short of time.
My local store regularly puts half gallons of milk on sale for $1. Sure. all parts of a chicken come from a chicken. Then.you don't have a food processor at home. Do the higher-price brands come from better breeds of cows? I don't think so. Most people grab the gallon container out of habit. Always look for the lowest price brand when shopping. How long does it take to grate cheese? It takes about 10 seconds. That is why I believe you should make every effort to get a food processor as soon as you can afford one – or get yours out of the attic and actually start using it. using a food processor with a grater blade. But here's a secret: all beef comes from a cow. And for you singles out there: never buy a pint of milk. Another advantage of grating your own cheese is that you're not limited to American. because they want their family to enjoy the finest quality. As long as you have a method of storing these items. but many of the lesser-priced cuts can be turned 111 . If you buy one bag of grated cheese per week for a full year. all pork comes from a pig. and you can really save. Prices these days can change from week to week. you've wasted almost as much money as it would take you to buy a food processor and grate it at home. so get the bargains whenever you can.79. Swiss. People: two halves DO make a whole when it comes to milk. milk freezes and thaws out just fine… You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. MEATS Most people avoid the lower-price cuts of meat. you can grate Monterrey Jack. Buy a half-gallon or gallon. Another thing that amazes me at the store is how size-specific people have become. while a full gallon container will be priced at $2. Yes. Milk: It's funny how milk prices can vary so dramatically by brand. Colby. Keep an open mind – and an open eye – when you're shopping for milk.00 each. Cheddar or Mozzarella. Sharp Cheddar or anything you'd like. and freeze what you don't need in the short-run. hand-grating a full block of cheese will take a lot of effort. all the cuts are different and some cook up better than others. you're paying about a 150% markup over the larger sizes. you can buy them while they are on sale. you store the cheese in plastic container for future use.
From lowest to highest price. etc. It's all in the cooking process. The higher up this chain you buy. given the amount of time you can devote to cooking. because you're paying a huge mark up for a few pennies' worth of spices. with all drumsticks. But the difference in cost can be significant. 112 . and it's not particularly easy unless you learn how to do it. all bonein breast sections. enjoyable meals. It's messy. the less you will pay. because they are there when you need them and they're easy to cook. it takes time. breasts with wings attached. if you're willing to rebag them. here's what you're likely to find: Whole Chickens or 'fryers' Half or Quartered Chickens Specific-Section Packs. just look at the cost per pound of each variety. It would be easy to preach that you should always buy whole chickens and cut them up as needed. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. the higher the price you pay. A relatively inexpensive and handy choice is skinless / frozen breasts. but this is simply not practical for many people. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. I also recommend that you NEVER buy pre-seasoned meats.Skin on Boneless Breasts . all wings. etc.Skinless / fresh Pre-Seasoned Breasts or Tenderloins Understand the 'preparation chain' of the food you buy.into excellent. the lower down the chain you buy. including drumsticks.Skinless / frozen Boneless Breasts . Boneless Breasts . you can buy packages of fresh breasts on sale. Or. and freeze them individually for one-at-a-time use later. thigh sections. What I DO recommend is staying as high up this list as possible. flavorful. Often. Chicken To fully understand how the different cuts and packaging combinations of chicken affect price. Bone-in Chicken Sections.
and surround with cleaned. Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker. it comes with your pressure cooker. salt and shortening). 2. Beef There are many different cuts of beef. Start to finish takes about 30 to 45 minutes. celery. hungry crowd. Put this all into a casserole dish and top with a simple piecrust (takes just a minute to make with flour. Perhaps the best rule of thumb with non-ground cuts of beef is this: the cheaper the cut. I make a casserole-sized chicken potpie for fraction of the cost of buying a store-made pie. Just about any cut of beef will come out tender and juicy if you slow cook it for about 3 hours at 250 degrees in the oven. which you like. and sear your roast on all sides for a minute or two.Chicken can be cooked in a multitude of ways. and many ways to make tasty enjoyable meals using the lesser-priced cuts. I simply cook two or three chicken breasts in the pressure cooker. so there is no great secret to buying individual cuts. etc. Try that in an oven – you can't do it! Here's the recipe: 1. onions. You can add a can of tomatoes if you 113 . I add some carrots. potatoes that I have cooked separately. carrots. peeled vegetables such as potatoes. 3. With a pressure cooker. If you don't have a pressure cooker. Remove the roast and put the spacer in your pressure cooker. just buy what you prefer. and it will please a huge. Replace the roast. For example. based on how much cooking time and work you're willing to put in. My favorite way to cook lesser cuts of beef is in a pressure cooker. and then I thicken the remaining liquid with a little milk and some flour and water paste to make a cream sauce. You'll also get great results if you cook it all day in a crockpot. and bake for about 15 minutes. Use whatever is in season and/or on sale. you should definitely consider buying one – especially if you often find yourself short of time to cook. This is a little metal plate that keeps the food away from the direct heat. the slower it needs to be cooked. you can cook a delicious pot roast in less than 1 hour's time – start to finish. and look for the best value you can. onions.
They simply can't be beat as a kitchen helper. Close the cooker and heat until the weight starts to rock. Add about 2 cups of water. If you want to serve your family hot.like a red sauce. If you do buy cheaper ground beef. salt and pepper. guess where it will be going? You may find that the costlier ground beef will yield bigger burgers with less fat. If you can. drain it well after cooking. The cheaper ground beef contains the most fat. or cut up some fresh tomatoes. and you will have an incredibly tender roast. 8. I would recommend cutting the meat into smaller chunks prior to cooking. You can cook ANY type of meat in a pressure cooker this way. so they're actually a better buy in the long run… Another way to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef is with meat tenderizer. let the pressure go down naturally. and it will always come out great. use your best dietary judgment rather than price to make shopping choices. so there's no need to worry about your health. The longer you let the pot sit. you can place the cooker under running cold water to reduce the pressure immediately. Regarding chopped or ground beef. And if you don't drain away all the fat. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. But they can make a world of difference in the tenderness of your beef. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as 114 . 4. But remember – the value you thought you were getting will be going to waste when you drain away all the fat. let the pot sit for an hour or longer. This way it will tenderize better. If you can't wait. which will be very evident when you cook it. try it and see! You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. tasty home-cooked meals but find yourself challenged for time. but leave the cooker on the burner. 6. the more tender your beef will be. 7. Turn the heat off. The new types of tenderizer are NOT MSG-based. If you are planning to cook and serve your roast immediately. 5. I like to add chopped garlic. I would strongly urge you to invest in a pressure cooker.
spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food can make meals new & exciting again. you can actually prepare these sauces in large quantities and store them in the freezer. Variety is the spice of life. you can make a better sauce 115 . As mentioned earlier. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. very tasty sauces that you can make in minutes. most meals consist of a base and a sauce. the core element is chicken. the core element is one or more vegetables. rice. Once you've mastered these sauces. You could buy pre-made sauces. and the variable element is the sauce or spices. healthy and flavorful meals.). For vegetarians. For meat-eaters. Serve them over your choice of core ingredients (cooked pasta. the secondary element is rice. and the variable element is the sauce or other seasoning additive. Just put a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on top before freezing. the secondary element is rice or other grains. wash and save your leftover yogurt cups or pudding cups and freeze the sauce in them. Then. That is why it is important to develop as many different sauce or spice combinations as possible. potatoes or other vegetables. simply re-heat in a saucepan or in the microwave to serve. you can serve them over any core element to make delicious. beef. You can pour your cooled sauce into quart-sized heavy-duty plastic kitchen bags and freeze. potatoes. you can keep your food costs low. Here are some very simple. if you're serving single portions. pork or lamb. or vegetables) and create gourmet meals that your family will love.the higher-priced cuts. commercial pasta sauces typically have a lot of starch fillers. SAUCES: The Miracle Budget Stretcher When you get right down to it. With a little resourcefulness. meats. If you family is bored with the food you cook. etc. Or. noodles. you can work out your own system without buying expensive storage containers. If you are typically stressed for time. MARINARA SAUCE. but they tend to be expensive and full of fillers and artificial ingredients.
This will taste WAY better than those 'quick side' pouch meals. The simplicity and powerful taste of this dish is amazing. you can add a can of peas on some chopped ham. This dish has been served for thousands of years – literally. but margarine will do). OLIVE OIL & GARLIC SAUCE. stirring constantly. CREAM SAUCE. Top with chopped chives for color. Serve over hot noodles and sprinkle on grated cheese. but if your goal is to impress. but it does take extra time…). add a can of tomatoes (or fresh. If your family likes mushrooms. it's high on the cholesterol and fat content. Melt a stick of REAL butter (margarine will NOT work for this one) in a saucepan over medium high heat. If you want a decadent meal that people will rave about. I find that kids like it better without any spices). this will work every time. and when they're almost done. start with a small carton of heavy cream. adding mushrooms and a sprinkling of garlic powder or chopped garlic. then serve over cooked pasta.that is 100% natural by buying diced or pureed tomatoes and adding a few spices to your liking. Simply heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped garlic (the jars of chopped garlic are easy and tasty. Yes. and heat for 15 to 30 minutes. Top with grated cheese. This is known in Italy as "Aglio et Oglio" and it is a classic. Heat very briefly until garlic is barely cooked. When they are transparent but not browned. It is said that Homer lived on this dish while writing The Iliad. Sautee for a few minutes and then serve over your core ingredients. so you know it has to be good! Cook your noodles first. Heat in a saucepan until it thickens slightly and then add your core ingredients. you can make a great sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan (real butter is best for sauces. If you like. if available). BROWNED BUTTER SAUCE. start on your sauce. and you've got a great presentation. To make a delicious marinara sauce. sauté some chopped onions or chopped green peppers as well. For example. stirring occasionally. When the butter 116 . Add a little Italian seasoning or basil (optional. purists prefer chopping the garlic fresh. fry some chopped garlic in a little olive oil. MUSHROOM SAUCE.
add chopped cucumber (known as Raita in Indian cooking). but do not boil. and pour it over your noodles. For variety. SOUR CREAM SAUCE. ideal for special occasions. Top with grated hard cheese.starts to burn. A cool and refreshing alternative to oil-based sauces is a simple and clean yogurt sauce. WHITE MUSHROOM SAUCE. You can use any really hard cheese such as Asiago. add 2 teaspoons white vinegar. I recommend getting a small electric chopper to save time – and save your knuckles. Pecorino. Heat through. salt and half cup of oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil). 1 tsp. This is an unusually pungent and tasty sauce. Start with 3 to 4 cups of basil leaves. Add additional oil until it forms a smooth paste. 2/3 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon of salt. 1 cup shelled walnuts (optional). or serve it on top of your core ingredients as the main sauce. Try sprinkling on some fresh ground black pepper for extra zest. LEMON JUICE. remove the seeds. PESTO. stirring constantly. it really brings out the flavor of vegetables. Simply add some parsley. Puree in a food processor for a minute or two until smooth. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Here's a quick and easy sauce 117 . 2 to 4 cloves of garlic. stews and other recipes. Squeeze fresh lemons into a bowl. Add 2/3 cup of whipping cream and cook until slightly thickened. This is an elegant sauce that turns any core ingredient into a gourmet treat. This one takes a little longer and a few more complex ingredients. Nothing is lighter or cleaner than fresh lemon juice.) The flavor of this dish will overwhelm you. YOGURT SAUCE. You can use Pesto to add zing to soups. add 1 cup finely chopped green onions until transparent (but not brown). Parmesan. (Grating a fresh block of hard cheese just prior to serving will make your dish much more flavorful than if you use the 'green cardboard shaker' cheese. Add a half cup grated Italian cheese and process a few minutes longer until smooth. etc. Reduce heat to low. stir and store. immediately take it off the stove. and serve on top of your favorite core ingredients. chopped chives and tarragon to plain yogurt. a half cup of fresh parsley leaves.
but that takes extra work) over medium heat. Here's an easy way to make this sauce quickly. Fry until wilted and pale brown. (Flavors blend best when sauce is cooled then reheated. 3 tsp. Cook for 5 minutes. Cook for 10 min. ground cardamom. stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup of slivered or ground almonds. Remove from heat immediately and serve over pasta. buy the all-natural jar of peanut butter. Pour back into sauce pan and cook until thickened. broiled or 118 . then reheat prior to serving. stirring constantly. Up for something different? As Thai cooking grows in popularity. ground cumin and 1 to 1-1/2 ¸tsp. from India). is much better for cooking than the commercial brands. Here's a decidedly elegant sauce you'll love as soon as you've tasted it. In a clutch. ground coriander. it will require stirring. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. (I find that the fresh-ground peanut butter. stirring constantly. they serve it over chicken and lamb. but once you get a craving for it. more people are discovering that spicy peanut sauce is great on barbecued meats. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. ALMOND CREAM SAUCE (Korma. minced very fine. 1 tsp. and add salt & pepper to taste. Slice 1 lb. chopped fresh ginger. 2 tsp. but it's much better in the long run. Add more water slowly until sauce is the right consistency. served as a dipping sauce. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. Remove from heat and puree in a blender with 2 cups of plain yogurt and a half cup of water. In India. Add salt (course or sea-salt preferred) to taste. Sautee in a half cup of melted butter until golden. vegetables or any core item combination. SPICY PEANUT SAUCE.) Serve over barbecued. and gradually stir in a half cup of water and a half cup of canned coconut milk. or just as a side sauce to flavor up any meal. 2 tsp.that is sure to impress. it will be a welcome change of pace on your dinner table. ground red pepper. fresh mushrooms (try an egg slicer). on medium heat. 1 tsp. 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley. Sautee 3 cups of finely chopped onions in 1 cup of olive oil (or clarified butter. Stir in a half cup white wine. Heat a half cup of chunky peanut butter in a saucepan. Top with grated cheese.) Stir in 1 clove of garlic. typically found in health-food stores. ground fennel. This sauce is a bit exotic. Cook over low heat until the flavors are blended. but it's also ideal just by itself over rice or with vegetables.
Here's another basic Chinese sauce that you can use to make a range of different menu items. The Cajuns in Louisiana use this sauce on all types of seafood and sandwiches. 1 tbl. you can make your own hot chili sauce in minutes. Simply mix the following in a saucepan: 3 tbl. then salt. CHINESE HOT SAUCE. CHINESE IMPERIAL SAUCE. or more hot oil (see below). To make hot oil. a half tsp.) Slowly add in 3 tblsp. sugar. finely-chopped ginger. Soy sauce. buy the inexpensive bottles of red chili flakes at the drug store or 'dollar' store. Blend the tastes. vegetable. place a handful of dried red peppers in a jar and add oil (olive. mix 3/4 cup ketchup. name brand starts with a “D” and rhymes with turkey. HOT CHILI SAUCE. half tsp. Start with 3 tbl. Soy sauce. bean sauce (found in Chinese grocery stores). use the oil only and not the peppers. When using. 1 tbl. then store your cooled sauce in the refrigerator in a jar and heat in a saucepan prior to adding your core ingredients. a hlaf tsp. If you like things on the hot side. cornstarch with a little water to form a liquid paste. mix 1 tsp. most people prefer no MSG). pepper and garlic powder to taste. Mix until blended. and cost next to nothing! REMOULADE SAUCE. sugar. or your choice of core ingredient. 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce). olive oil and beat 119 . ginger. of sugar. Chinese black vinegar (or 1-1/2 tsp. Here's one that you can make in advance and serve over just about any core ingredient to make a tasty change-of-pace dish. 3 tbl.fried chicken. canola or any cooking oil you prefer). plus 1 cup or more of dry sherry to taste. Add chopped garlic. (optional. 1 tbs. Add 1 tsp. Drizzle slowly into sauce to thicken. Add a dash of MSG for flavor-enhancement. In a small jar. Garnish your dish with fresh cilantro. How do the Chinese make so many different dishes so quickly? The secret is their base sauces. warm water. Sesame oil and 1 tsp. add 1 tbs dry sherry and a half cup chicken broth. if desired. Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1/8 cup Famous Sauce (available at your store. If you are cheap like me. In a small cup. hot chili paste. minced ginger root and 2 tbl. They work great. salt & pepper to taste. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes and serve over your favorite core ingredients.
Add 1 tsp. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and a half cup hot water. This recipe uses ingredients you probably have around the house. As you can see. 1/4 tsp. white pepper and 1/8 tsp. Add 3 tsp. Melt a half stick butter in a saucepan. many sauce recipes you can find in your favorite cookbooks or on the Internet. 1 tsp. nothing beats a complex cream sauce.vigorously. These are but a few of the many. For sheer elegance. That's because the items that are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. 3 tsp. Blend the flour mixture into the melted butter until thickened. Worcestershire sauce. mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little hot water until dissolved. dry white wine. 1 tsp. Pour over any core ingredient for a delightful meal. chopped green onions. Blend in 2 tsp. dried oregano and dried thyme. white pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Add to your list of sauces. prepared horseradish. minced parsley. In a small cup. lemon juice. 1/4 tsp. Simmer until thickened. each of cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer. Add salt if desired. salt. 3 tbsp. 1 tblsp. Heat on low for 5 minutes until blended. the variety of sauces you can cook is unlimited. Whisk until blended. grated parmesan cheese and allow to melt. MEUNIERE SAUCE. because they are being harvested now – not 6 months ago. and cooks very quickly. and you will find that you can create exciting and varied dishes in minutes – for meals that your family will savor and thank you for again and again! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 17 BIG IDEA 80: CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. ULTIMATE CREAM SAUCE. Bring to a simmer and then add 6 oz. This is also a Cajun recipe. combine 3/4 cup Butter or margarine. Louisiana hot sauce. 120 . Add a half cup hot milk and slowly blend in 1 pint sour cream. Creole or 'poupon' mustard and then mix again. Add 1 tsp. 2 tsp. ideal over seafood. a dash of hot pepper sauce. ketchup. beating after each ingredient. In a small saucepan. This is a spicy sauce that some people can't live without.
the less you will pay. the lower down the chain that you buy. BIG IDEA 83: Tomatoes are packed with nutritional value and flavor. BIG IDEA 82: A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. more food volume. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. BIG IDEA 86: Understand the 'preparation chain' of the foods you buy. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family are endless. You can make hundreds of recipes around the tomato. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as the higher-priced cuts. If your family is bored with the food you cook. you need to buy them while they are on sale. That is why the Italians have been able to make thousands of individual recipes based off of this one vegetable. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. Prices these days can change from week to week. and each will be tasty and healthy for your family to eat. Often. BIG IDEA 87: You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. BIG IDEA 84: There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked hundreds of different ways. as long as you have a method of storing these items.BIG IDEA 81: Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. The higher up this chain that you buy. the higher the price you will pay. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. The Irish knew this centuries ago. BIG IDEA 85: You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. and store them in a way that you can reheat them quickly for individual meals. so get the bargains whenever you can. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. and excite your family's taste buds. But the difference in cost can be significant. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food 121 . or a few pennies worth of seasoning. BIG IDEA 88: Variety is the spice of life. so 'recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household.
). And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. etc. 122 . noodles. you can keep your food costs low. potatoes.can make meals new & exciting again.
buy the quart.50.00 or more at the burger joints. Tea bags are cheap! You can make fresh-brewed tea in the microwave in minutes and then add ice cubes and sweetener to make your own tea for less. • Fruit juice is very healthy and delicious. Compare the cost of a half gallon of fresh orange juice to a can of frozen juice that makes a half gallon. It can often be almost 50% less in cost – and some frozen brands taste just as good as fresh. or if you just don't like them. $2. as it's known on the commodities market (Fresh Orange Juice Concentrate.) What is at the core of any non-alcoholic drink? Water. some ice. Your money will go a lot farther! • Iced tea by the can or by the jar of mixture can be expensive. and some pre-sweetened packet drink mix. 123 . liter or 2-liter sizes of the brand-name stuff. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. and you can make a great daiquiri without paying for those high-priced frozen mixes. but it can also be very expensive. DRINKS • Brand-name soft drinks by the can are expensive. You can also use this method to make summertime adult beverages – mix in a little fresh fruit and lemon or lime as well. Avoid buying drinks that have the water added at the factory. You can make them at home using a blender. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. • Kids love slushees. that container of 'fresh' juice is actually factoryblended out of "FOJC". And in many cases. and serve in a glass with ice.Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Here are some random tips for saving money at the grocery store. Choose the storebrand. but they cost $1. because the kids get less 'wired' than with the sugar mixes. We use the sugar-free varieties. and replace it with clean & fresh water out of your own tap.
124 . fill it with your food. they cost about half as much. • If you give your kids snacks for school. you cut off a section of pouch material. you’re saving $133 or more per year – and best of all you’re keeping the little ones happy. because you're paying a wildly-inflated cost for the food inside those packets. use your own plastic bags and dish out a small portion of these items from a larger bag. and double or triple the cost of the item by weight. Let’s say that your kids just absolutely love those chocolate-coated candies. but instead of spending $20 or more on individual packets. With one of these machines. by weight. AVOID THESE PRODUCTS. If you want to implement portion control. you can individually package your own portions and lock them up in a storage closet. and then the machine sucks out the air and seals the flap air-tight? They’re really not that expensive to purchase. Now. If you are super-diligent about this. here’s the advantage.COOKIES & SNACKS • The store brands of cookies are often as good if not better than the name brands. Those small pre-packs of snacks are about three to four times more expensive. you’ve spent $6 plus another $2 or $3 in plastic supplies. you can purchase one of those food-saver machines. but lower your total food bill. because they haven’t had to make any sacrifice. Does it make a difference? Well. than bagging the same portion yourself! PORTION CONTROL The marketing gurus at the food manufacturing companies have latched onto a great idea: package smaller amounts of their product in tiny packets. You'll accomplish the same goal. if it’s an item you buy every month. purchase can last for a full month. Market it as 'healthier-size portions' and people will pay the mark-up and be glad for it. The net result: one 5 lb. melt one edge to seal it in the machine. buy the large-size package and divvy the product out into small baggies yourself. Plus. but they’re very expensive – and the kids will overeat them if you buy the large economy size. the ones that use a roll of plastic pouch material. You know.
baking soda. etc. Many of these items such as window-washing solution. • Read the 'Hints from Heloise' column in your newspaper. Their homemade version works just as well as the commercial stuff because the lemon juice dissolves the dirt and smudges on the surface while the olive oil shines and protects the wood. – saving you 70% to 80% off the cost of buying the brand-name stuff. Just do a web search on “homemade cleaning supplies” and you'll find dozens of sites offering recipes for cleaners that you can make for a fraction of the cost of the name-brand versions. You’ll find that many of the home-made products will actually be better for your home and for the environment. you guessed it – a dollar! And the remarkable thing is.. when purchased at the “oh so environmenally concious” earth-friendly store will cost you as much as $4.79! So you’re reducing your cost by over 75% by purchasing at the cheapskate store. It should make you feel smarter. can be made out of a combination of water. oven cleaner. Does it somehow make you feel cheap? It shouldn’t. dishwasher soap. vinegar. rubbing alcohol. You’ll find a treasure-trove of cleaning supplies at the dollar store for the remarkable price of. this stuff won't go bad. and by buying big you won't be running out as often. one web site lists a recipe for furniture polish that is made entirely out of olive oil and lemon juice. This same type of product. buy the big container and use a coupon. etc. I found a huge bottle of orange spray cleaner – you know.. or log onto one of the many websites that show you how to make clone – copies of brand – name cleaning products yourself.CLEANING SUPPLIES • One thing will never change. They claim that most commercial polishes and sprays use silicone oil... • Shop at the dollar stores. ammonia. etc. Imagine that – a cheap and effective product that does a better job than the high-priced sprays! 125 . the kind that uses citric acid as the main cleaning ingredient – and it only cost $1. which can seep into the cracks in the wood and cause problems if you ever decide to refinish the wood. the need to clean. So when you're buying household items like laundry detergent. bathroom cleaner. For example. many of these items will actually be environmenally-friendly.
With this program. Every town and city has a center that accepts food and household items for the poor. Our furry friends need help. One of the best and largest grocery-related programs around is "Boxtops for Education" sponsored by General Mills. but the proceeds that your local schools can receive from it are huge. Help Your Community with Coupons – Even If You Won't Personally Benefit. Just keep a plastic bag in your pantry or kitchen drawer and clip these coupons all year long – even if you don't have school-age kids. When you see bargains like this. and will put it on sale for pennies on the dollar to clear it out quickly. SUPER BARGAINS • Often you will find that your store is discontinuing an item. Many of these home-made products actually work better than the store brands as well. and they will certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. And if you happen to find pet food or pet supplies on close-out. You could collect enough over one year's time to provide $20 or $30 worth of educational supplies for your local schools. There are many people who could benefit from your shopping activities. you simply clip the little coupon that is printed on the packaging and collect them. consider buying a few extras for the less fortunate. Since General Mills is such a large manufacturer and distributor of food products. Each one is worth about 10 cents towards school supplies or educational equipment. It helps local schools get free or discounted educational supplies.Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily save $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. The program costs you nothing extra. too – and their caretakers never get enough money or support to provide the animals with everything that’s needed. And that brings up another very important point: saving money to help others. buy a bunch of everything and drive it out to the animal shelter or ASPCA. based on the number of coupons that the school turns in for credit. you'll find these coupons on dozens of different products you buy every week. Helping to provide a 126 .
Buy concentrated juices and powdered drinks. When you do see an incredible bargain on a particular item. chances are the item is well worth the price they are asking for. Of course. Spending less money on food does NOT mean you have to buy lower quality items. QUALITY • It needs to be said that nothing substitutes for good quality. you can be a hero by purchasing one or two extra items and donating them to the food bank. It will be more enjoyable in the long run. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. If you find yourself buying inferior products or lowering your standards in the quality of the food you buy. One immediate idea is to see if you have a Second Harvest or other food bank in your area. But if you find yourself buying inferior products just to save a few pennies. I would recommend buying a smaller portion of the better quality items and consuming less. 127 . Food banks collect canned goods and non-perishable items for distribution to hungry families throughout your area. you're not using the system correctly. and you and your family are too important to settle for second best. and the higherpriced item is definitely of better quality. there are many other community groups that could benefit from the discounts and bargains you are able to achieve through proper shopping techniques. you can enjoy the finest items in the store for a fraction of the everyday retail price.better education for our children is something we can all be proud of. what's the point? Life is too short. Value is not as important as providing the best quality for your family so price should not be your only motivation when shopping. If you see a clear-cut difference in the quality of an item. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 18 BIG IDEA 89: Cut down on drinks that have water added at the factory. Rather than sacrifice quality. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. It's easy to enjoy BETTER food and pay LESS money if you follow the steps outlined in this book. If you follow the methods outlined in this book.
BIG IDEA 91: Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily shave $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. Use the tips in this book to buy top-quality products for less. get a food-saver machine and make air-tight pouches for longterm use. You'll help out your community and store up some good karma while you're at it. or if you are especially resourceful. Saving money does NOT have to equate to settling for less. Or simply buy extra nonperishable items when you see them on super-sale and donate them to your local foodbank. You can use plastic bags. consider buying the large economy-size package of a product and doling out the portions yourself. and therefore the quality of the products you purchase and use is also important. Many of these homemade products can actually work better than the name brands! BIG IDEA 92: Quality of life is important.BIG IDEA 90: If you want to provide portion-controlled servings. 128 . BIG IDEA 93: Be an "angel" and participate in free programs such as "Boxtops for Education" that help others.
Guess what? No potato coupon was found! Just out of curiosity (and frantic to get my potato coupon) I logged in using a different browser (Internet Explorer instead of Firefox) so there would be no ‘cookies’ stored for my account. Why do you suppose that would happen? Answer: they didn't want to cannibalize their profits from a current customer. It’s actually a ploy they use to REMOVE the coupons for items that are already on local promotion in your area. So when you encounter these 'surveys'.” I discovered something surprising about this. These are the box mixes of augratin or scalloped potatoes.) I logged in using a Zip Code from another state. I entered my Zip Code to get the local offers. ALWAYS say that you are interested in the featured product and would like to try it. you are almost certain to get the maximum value coupon available on the site that day. Here’s another trick: Some of these online sites will ask you to enter your Zip Code to find “local savings. Just to see what would happen. How many of these instances involved the brand name featured in the coupon? I answered the maximum in each case. two of my local stores had a namebrand line of potato mixes on BOGO. but it sure appeared to me that the food . it was apparent that this was a major push to get people to try these products at the start of the fall/winter “hot food” season. and guess what – the potato coupon reappeared! 130 Now. I thought it was an error. but you currently use a competing brand. How many times per week does your household use milk flavorings? 2. Because the same offer was made at the two largest grocery chains. and I was quickly routed to a 'technical malfunction' page that said the coupon could not be printed at this time. This way. I went to my favorite online coupon site and saw a 40¢ coupon for this item on page 1 of the site. (techie note only. How do I know this? Recently. and the potato coupon disappeared from the list. ignore this if you find it confusing. so I logged out and logged back in again. I tend to be cynical.the coupon: 1.
They even put the coupons in the same position on each page. and some tips on getting the best coupon values on each site. CoolSavings. and unless you uncheck the requests on their pages. you will instantly be signed up for a wide array of offers. they’ll typically double every coupon that is within their accepted value range (any coupon under 50¢ at my local store.80 for 2 boxes) Of course. But then the payoff was huge: 82 coupons were available to pick and choose. I was asked to review and “accept” or “skip” about 8 lengthy offers for insurance.) Moral of the story: you may want to avoid asking for “local savings” coupons if you really want to save more money locally.25 ($1.29 total for 2 boxes) $0. This site will make you work hard to get to the coupons – but it’s worth the effort. Eversave. or you will forever be inundated with emails and marketing offers. Here’s why: Normal price of item Cost per item using only the BOGO offer Cost per item using BOGO offer AND the doubled coupon $1. On a recent visit.com. The easiest way to do this is to “select all” and print. so you can cut a stack of pages all at once and the coupons will all be trimmed out correctly! 131 .65 ($1. Just be aware that they are partnered with dozens of information-compiling sites.manufacturer didn’t want me using both the doubled coupon AND the BOGO offer. Here are some coupon sites to visit. the internet coupon was marked “Do Not Double”.29 minus $0. etc. This site features about 20 to 30 coupons per week on all types of consumer products. But I know from experience that most stores ignore this request because they want to please the customer. medicine. magazines. Read the fine print carefully and uncheck all offers before proceeding.29 per box $0.com.
then pay an additional $8. Coupons. But overall. They offer a large number of coupons at very good price points. up until the expiration date of the coupon. you don’t pay an annual fee.50 fee to join. Here. the shopping cart changes the quantity to 5 – even if you only selected 1. on items that your family is very likely to want and use – items like popular cereal brands. etc. Plus. so you should be a very avid coupon user to cover the startup fee.95 annual fee however. You can order multiples of the same coupon. This site requires that you pay a $7.com.com. A good site to visit often! NOTE: this site is rebranded by local newspapers such as the L. This site is well organized.com. the Baltimore Sun. as well as the number of coupons currently available and the expiration date. Plus. This site offers pre-clipped coupons. I would recommend this site if you are buying for a community group such as your Boy Scout 132 . you don’t have to do all that clipping… Clipngocoupons.com. plus a 50¢ administration fee. This site requires you to register with minimal information. you have to agree to complete a very lengthy survey and tell them everything about yourself – in great detail. you can plan your savings over time. and you get to choose by specific brand names.OnlineCoupons. gourmet food items. Fees typically range from 5¢ to 15¢. You select the coupons online and receive them in the mail within 7 to 10 business days. You have to go through quite a bit of mumbo-jumbo before you ever get to the coupons.. it displays the specific coupons available by category. personal and cleaning products and more. so you will be directed here from many other sites. One annoying thing about this site is that on coupons that cost you 5¢.25 to receive up to 50 coupons by return mail. you can stock up on the specific coupon. Thecouponclippers. but you do pay for each coupon. The drawback is that you have to pay to save. this site has a huge selection of coupons at very reasonable prices. On this site.A. Times. and that just kind of goes against the grain of true cheapskates.com. There is a $99. so if your family is a big consumer of a particular item. CentsOff. plus you must install their printer drivers to print coupons.
but also some unique freestanding sites great for rebate-searching. You are required to provide specific household information to sign up. many leading to the sites listed above. so I really can’t toot my own horn. however.com for grocery discounts. value and guidance. with comments from people who have claimed them or have comments about the offer. etc.Troop or church social group. Thefrugalshopper. But visit it. It means that you sign up on line and then you receive an email that you must respond to if you want to get to the online coupons. and all the rebates and coupons to make it happen at the lowest possible price. especially when a consumer posts a complaint here.S." GroceryDiscounts. This site uses a double opt-in validation process. "FatWallet's mission is to serve consumers with knowledge. As posted on their site. entertainment. This is a great site for sharing coupon tips and techniques with people from across the country. Plus. The site simply links to EverSave. they provide valuable information about what offers are good and not so good. We offer many links to the best savings of the week.us. shopping. you can get valuable tips from hundreds of other value-conscious shoppers across the U. too! Fatwallet. when you plan to make multiple purchases of specific items over the long term.com. You'll find 'hot deals' on coupons. so it may be disappointing if you are looking for printable grocery coupons. It's like having 230. I was impressed at the high coupon values and diversity of local establishments participating on this site. The site features a surprising number of local coupons that you can print out and redeem for discounts on dining. This is the author’s web site. because you will regularly find responses from the PR departments of the big companies. This site maintains a large number of links to coupon values.com. You are not the only consumer that wants to save money on groceries. Plus. 133 . and see what you think. The food industry giants monitor this site. There are no grocery coupons on this site.000 friends to ask advice from.com. MyClipper. rebates and regional offers posted here. Members of this site post information about hot deals and web sites where you can download coupons.
Join some of the ‘blogs’ (web logs) related to cost-cutting. 134 . Knowledge = cash savings for you. Plus. you might just meet a kindred spirit on one of the blog sites. BIG IDEA 95: Use the internet to capture tips & techniques from other shoppers. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print and redeem immediately. You can benefit from their experiences and wisdom by searching the internet and reading about their tips & techniques. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 19 BIG IDEA 94: Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. and make a new friend. Chances are. and share your successes with other value-minded individuals.Millions of people today have to count pennies to stay afloat. you’ll learn some great money-saving tips that you can use over and over again.
As it often goes with Murphy's Law. two or more people will need the exact same item on the exact same shelf at the exact same time. and pull your cart off to the side before you get in the line.Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette One thing to bear in mind as you implement these saving techniques we've discussed. one way or another. take a glance around every so often to see if anyone is waiting nearby. It was Honore De Balzac who said. if you're waiting in line at the butcher or deli counter. You can't teach a stranger what their mama was unable to many years ago. People's behavior in the grocery store is a mirror reflection of their attitude towards others. So if you see someone lurking nearby. Okay. they're 135 . Similarly. Take a minute to think of other shoppers. This certainly brings us to the issue of your fellow shoppers. Cart Courtesy. If you're taking a particularly long time to review the products on the shelf. If it's in the middle of the aisle and you'll probably be waiting in line for 5 minutes or longer. be aware of where you left your cart. but you're going to get to know your local store pretty well. you might only be spending a little more time than you do already. and either doesn't know – or doesn't care – that other people are shopping in the store at the same time. is that you're definitely going to be spending more time at your local grocery store. Here are a few ways you can become a more courteous shopper and make everyone's shopping experience more pleasant. pull your cart over to the side of the aisle so others may pass. When you're not moving. Nothing is more frustrating that waiting behind someone who is stopped in the middle of the aisle. Shelf Surfing. But you can demonstrate proper courtesy yourself and hope that some of it wears off on others. you'll probably be blocking a few dozen shoppers during that time. Unfortunately you'll find this to be the case among the people sharing the aisles of your grocery store. "Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness".
But if you try to resolve the situation in the checkout line and hold the other shoppers up for 5 minutes or so. It’s important to mention that the cashier at your local grocery store is working to feed his or her family. apologize. as will your cashier. needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway). Cashier Courtesy. don’t pitch a fit or blame the cashier: offer to fix it at the Customer Service counter after you check out. “hey – you’re trying to rip me off!”. it reflects poorly on her if she’s got a situation with an irate customer. So your 5-minute excursion to the service counter could save you a few extra dollars. and simply walk away from the service counter.probably waiting for you to move. and she wants your shopping visit to be pleasant. If you have a discrepancy on a price. “oh oh – I think the scanner took the original price and not the sale price. If there is a huge line at your grocery store and the scanner simply won’t ring up the correct price or accept your coupon. Your fellow shoppers will be very appreciative. the cashier is NOT trying to rip you off. If you’re certain that you are entitled to the lower price or the coupon redemption. she’s there to help you. Instead of. 136 . like you and me. don’t jump down their throat: mention that there is an issue with the price that the scanner has entered. Can we check the sale flyer to see if I’ve got the right item?” In other words. It makes for a more pleasant exchange. you can accept your error. the cashiers will have you pegged as a ‘problem customer’ which is not a good way to make friends or get preferential treatment when you shop. They’re just people. if you’re wrong. Plus.. they’ll never let you live it down. take it up with a customer service representative after you finish paying for your groceries.. They’re not there to represent the ‘big bad grocery store chain’ or ‘big corporate food manufacturers’. Plus. So give them a break. okay? Wrong Price / Wrong Coupon. put the blame on the computer and not on the poor cashier who is just doing his or her job. Plus. trying to make it through their shift. So give her a break. as well. Here’s another value-shopping tip for you: most stores have a ‘no error’ policy that will give you one of the sale item FREE if their system rings up the wrong price. try. So make your choice and move on. And.
it can pay to NOT mention it to cashier. walk over to the customer service counter after you’ve paid. You may get one item free if the pricing error was caused by the store’s computer. 137 .Big Idea Recap – Chapter 20 BIG IDEA 96: If you notice a price discrepancy at the cash register. Instead.
you can get the price-saving advantage of shopping at ALL of the stores in your are. The cashier asked me to always hand them the coupon at the same time they are scanning the free item. Free & BOGO Coupon Presentment Order. The bad news is. but you won’t have to burn up your valuable time and gasoline to visit these stores. This makes it easier for the cashier to find the prices. Let’s say. Store “A” has the goal of getting you to come in for that one bargain. but purchase the rest of your weekly food needs at their regular store prices. Let’s call them store “W” and affectionately nickname them “Wally World. This information can be used to your advantage in many ways. you can purchase this same item for $3.99 – all the while taking advantage of store “W’s” other low prices. This one tip alone can shave $20 or $30 off your weekly food bill.” This particular store will match their competitor’s advertised sale price on the exact same item. A good tip is to put those items LAST on the conveyor belt. for example. at the same time you are saving money using the tips and techniques found in this book. One of America’s largest discounters offers a unique value proposition. There are many coupons that offer an item for free but they also indicate that the cashier must write the purchase price on the coupon. This may be one of the only loss-leaders they advertise for the week. In other words. that store “A” has put the large size of laundry detergent on sale.99 but this week it’s on sale for $3. and put the free and BOGO coupons FIRST on your stack of coupons. You can also take flyers from store “B” and from store “C” and “D” into store “W”. many 139 . so they don't have to search for the price.99. They'll really appreciate your effort! Competitive Price-Matching. regular price $7. A cashier recently told me something about the processing of 'free' and 'BOGO' coupons. But the fun – and the savings – don’t have to end there. If you take store “A’s” flyer to store “W”.Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Here are some ways to save time at the grocery store.
you will save money on food.e. you will consistently find yourself paying less for food because you have changed the way you shop. "Acme Grocery". and then I do a quick perusal of my grocery coupon envelopes to see if I have matching coupons.m. The net result: I experience savings of 40% or 50% on my total order that day. All this is great. Make Saving a Habit. when you need those three or four items. many times the net cost of items at store “W” are lower with single-value redemption on coupons that they are at competing stores with double-value redemption. but when I'm breezing in to Acme for my 10-minute kamikaze shopping blitz. Now. Most of the time. It only takes an extra two or three minutes to pick them up. If you habitually follow even a few of these money-saving tips.m. and it's one that 90% of all shoppers fall into. If you only need three or four items to complete your meal on a Sunday afternoon. Speed Shopping. but they are the best bargains for that day in that store. i. you probably want to breeze in and breeze out of the grocery store. And honestly. they don't know any other way. I pull out the coupons and place them in the envelope I've got named specifically for that store. In time. but it can be very costly if you don't time to shop for bargains or take advantage of the in-store sales on that particular day. Paying full retail for food is a bad habit. when you're reading the Sunday paper. when I would have otherwise experienced savings of probably 0% had I not taken the extra few minutes to scarf up these values. The secret to accomplishing BOTH of these goals is to do a little pre-planning. But you're relaxed and taking your time at 8 a. You’ll just have to do the math yourself to decide which stores in your area offer the best final-cost pricing on the items you need. I locate the sale items. 140 . I find it very beneficial to scan the grocery flyer from my local store. I run by and pick up those three or four sale items that I have coupons for. You're in a huge rush at 4 p. I’m not suggesting that you ONLY buy the price-match items at store “W.” That wouldn’t be fair to them. I may find only three or four coupons.stores like store “W” do not double your coupon’s value. You're probably a wiz at the 'self-scan' aisle and know how to shave minutes off your trip.
he spit it out. you can cook them up in a pressure cooker and make a delicious soup in less than an hour. or just not be usable. you can grow your own tomatoes or green beans and save lots of money on fresh vegetables. or even just a few square feet on the side of your driveway. you will purchase an item that will either have gone bad. I recently bought a juice item for my kids. If it's defective. because my personal focus group is pretty reliably when it comes to evaluating kid's foods. to take things out of the recycling bin? No! You are doing better than recycling – you are re-using!). nothing is better than fresh basil. Turn this to your advantage. parsley. I know what you're thinking: I barely have time to zip through the grocery store. Every grocery store has vegetables that are reaching their peak and must be sold quickly. (Is that unethical.Never Settle for Poor Quality. thyme. cilantro. and use them to make a pot of soup! Monday's are good days for grocery stores to clear out their leftover inventory from the weekend. CRAZY??? No. Tomatoes grow very well in a large bucket – and you can often find the large 5-gallon plastic pails thrown away behind restaurants or in the recycling bin. and they all spit it out. If you like gourmet cooking. – and these grow very well in small pots that you can put on a window sill. You can also find meat that is expiring and on-sale 141 . If the item is in fine condition but you just think it's nasty-tasting. Now you're asking me to put on bib overalls and farm the back 40? What are you. If you have a patio or deck. So it was well worth my time to complain. Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs. the grocers expect a certain amount of 'breakage' as it's known in the trade. taste horrible. Okay. Start a Soup Night. So I wrote a note to the manufacturer and told them that they needed to reformulate or at least re-think the product. You might be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own herbs and save on the cost of buying them fresh. write a quick letter to the manufacturer and tell them so.00 off coupons for their other products. actually. return it to the store for a new one. etc. it's nothing like that. So if you pick up a bag of mixed vegetables for $1 or $2. Once in a blue moon. The manufacturer wrote me back and send me three $1. Try it. Even their friend who weighs 300 lbs and regularly cleans out my refrigerator of all leftovers.
you will see a consistent and ongoing reduction in your net cost of food. BIG IDEA 101: Bargain meats and vegetables are still very edible and nutritious. 142 . you can enjoy the best values from every store in your area. By taking the other store’s sales flyers into the big-box store. write letters: you'll get satisfaction in the end – and probably save a few extra bucks as well. and you have a gourmet treat that's easy on the budget as well. BIG IDEA 100: A few minutes per day invested in growing your own vegetables and herbs can easily save you $20 or $30 per month. If you make bargain-grabbing a habit. Bake a loaf of fresh bread the night before. BIG IDEA 99: You never have to pay for items that truly are unusable. It makes a terrific dinner. If they're defective. By learning how to prepare these items quickly. that is still absolutely fresh and good to eat that day but must be sold by the store before midnight to comply with basic regulations. get your money back or get a replacement. you can not only save money – you can prepare them into a delicious.for ﬁ the price or less. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 21 BIG IDEA 97: Some big-box grocers offer to match competitive store’s sales prices. without the added cost or time of actually driving to all of these stores. If they're just poorly made or you are completely dissatisfied with them. using your breadmaker. Take advantage and cook it all up together with a few spices. welcome meal that your family will love and look forward to every week. you will habitually save on food. the store couldn't sell them if they weren't. That's up to $360 savings per year – plus you'll eat better and tastier meals. BIG IDEA 98: If you get in the habit of ALWAYS picking up a bargain or two EVERY TIME you visit the grocery store.
and your piggybanks remain full! 143 . You don't have to settle for second best. You can feed your family for less and enjoy nutritious. there you have it. Good shopping to you all. and you don't have to pay top dollar to get the finest groceries available in the store. regardless of how time-challenged you are. May your coupon-cutting scissors remain sharp. You can shop quickly and efficiently. I hope that the ideas presented here have given you a new outlook on food and cooking in general. delicious meals that can improve their health and you can save lots of money in the process.Closing Notes Well.
Also referred to as SS coupons or insert coupons.coupon that a grocery store doubles in value Free Item Coupon .Premiums that require money in addition to a proof of purchase NAZ .Do Not Double (the coupon is not supposed to be doubled) Double coupon .Name.for coupons that need some proof of purchase such as UPC's attached Cpns . address.Buy one get one free Catalina . usually has a red border C/O .Limited. usually from red blinking box BOGO or B1G1 .Cash register tape DCRT.A coupon that allows you to get the product completely free FSI .Hang tags for refunds or coupons hanging on a product HTH .manufacturer's coupons CRT .Free Standing inserts.In search of LTD .Hope this helps ISO .coupon dispensed at register after purchase.National Brand Qualifier 144 .GLOSSARY Guide to refunding and couponing terms : Blinkies . These are the actual term to the coupons you get in your Sunday newspaper.instore smartsource coupon dispensed near product. zip code NB . HBA .The health and beauty aid section in the grocery store HDA .National Brand NBQ .Manufacturer MFR . as on a refund form it will say you're limited to a certain number of purchases MFG .Hot Deal Alert or Home Delivered Ad HT or HgT.cents off coupon Codes .Manufacturer Money + .Refunds that require only a UPC# written on a CRT Coufund .Dated cash register tape DCRTC .Dated cash register tape with the price circled DND .
On a single item POP .No expiration date Nfp .coupons that are doubled $1 + in value (ie.Sunday supplement coupons (FSI) Super doubles . etc) SWEEPS .purchase price PPHF . a $1 coupon = $2.a coupon that a grocery store triples in value UPC .net weight OAS .Your Mileage May Vary (Success of offer is variable.A pad of refund forms found hanging from a store shelf or display TMF .specially marked packages SS .) 145 .proof of purchase PP .Store form SMP . any size OSI .while supplies last YMMV .sweepstakes form Tear pad .Try Me Free Triple coupon .Paypal handling fee Q or Qualifier.The POP required for a refund offer that is physically taken from that package RAOK .Random act of kindness SF .a coupon that is good on one purchase.refund form found in a newspaper NT WT .Universal Product Code WSL .NED .
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FKB Group PLC. His clients have included many of the nation’s largest manufacturers. You can shop smarter even if you’re always in a hurry LEVERAGE.40% . That’s at least $1.000 per year.THIS DEFINITIVE GUIDE to saving money on groceries is a godsend to families who struggle to make ends meet. If you’ve tried ‘skimping’ on quality or selection just to lower your costs.000 to $5. Your family will love the results – and so will your budget! RANDALL PUTALA is a career advertising executive that has worked for some of America’s largest agencies including BBDO. Discover the system that can save you 30% . This is real money that you can bankroll to make life-changing differences in your family’s lives. Selecting core ingredients rather than paying for high-priced ‘pre-mixed’ items THINKING LIKE A MARKETER. Putala is also the founding director of World Hunger Team. . You will learn how to completely re-shape your approach to food. Inside the pages of “Better Groceries for Less Cash” you will quickly learn and master the simple techniques of value buying. and develop lifelong money-saving habits such as: MAKING BETTER CHOICES. retailers and financial institutions. within days of reading this book you can start saving a minimum of $30 per week – all while eating tastier and more nutritious meals. Buying the best for less than the ‘off brands’ SMARTER COOKING. and Allied Graphic Arts. How to think like a chef to get the best shopping values on any given day SYSTEMATIC SAVINGS.500 in savings per year! And if you’re spending $200 or $300 per week – you can easily save $3. Understanding how to leverage the grocery manufacturer’s promotional cycles AISLE MASTERY. You will learn the inside secrets that the food industry doesn’t want you to know – and how you can harness that knowledge to beat them at their own game. How to use coupon doubling and store promotions to maximize savings STAYING IN SEASON. this book will show you how easy it is to actually IMPROVE your menu and INCREASE meal satisfaction – all while PAYING LESS CASH each week for groceries. 101 simple action steps that you can learn in minutes If your family spends $100 or more on food per week.even 50% or more on groceries TAKING SIMPLE STEPS. a non-profit foundation dedicated to solving the world hunger crisis.
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